UFC 192: Cormier vs. Gustafsson
It was a rough start to the year for both Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson, as they each suffered seemingly crippling losses in the upper echelons of the UFC light-heavyweight division. Jon Jones defeated ‘DC’ by decision to end their feud at UFC 182, and Gus got knocked silly by Anthony Johnson, who later went on to lose against Cormier for the vacated strap.
With the beef with ‘Bones’ now in the rear view, ‘DC’ will look to improve on his career achievements by adding his first ever title defense, and his opponent ‘The Mauler’ will look to rekindle the very nearly glory days of his own fight with Jones back at UFC 165. Cormier is in place to get the gym’s run of form heading out of 2015 off to a great start, but he is once again the smaller man in terms of stature.
What he lacks in size, ‘DC’ more than makes up for in speed, power and wrestling prowess, whereas ‘The Mauler’s’ chops arguably lie in the striking department. We saw the Swede dismantle Jones’ unbeatable aura in Canada nearly two years ago, but how will he deal with the takedowns and unrelenting pressure of Cormier?
If we learned one thing from Gus’ war with ‘Bones’, it’s that he can take a lot of punishment. Cormier is cut from the same cloth as his Swedish counterpart, training with former heavyweight champion and master of the grind Cain Velasquez, so you could easily make the assumption that this fight will turn in to a battle of attrition.
If that were the case, I could only see it going one way; Cormier wrestling his way to either a decision or submission victory, even in the stand up exchanges, I’d probably err on the side of ‘DC’s’ clinch work against the fence stifling Gustafsson’s lanky reach.
We can’t really take much from Gus’ showing against ‘Rumble’ earlier this year as he was starched in quick order, Cormier’s grind ultimately got the better of Johnson at UFC 187 soon after, and if only MMA math worked I’d be a millionaire.
Do & Don’t
Daniel Cormier-Do what you are best at, wrestle the hell out of this guy and make him breath heavy, grind him against the fence and take length and reach out of the equation. Don’t stand anywhere near the end of Gustafsson’s kicks and punches, and don’t forget about his knees and elbows in close.
Alexander Gustafsson-Do try and utilize your length at every possible opportunity, punish the shorter wrestler with as wide a variety of strikes as possible and keep him guessing what’s coming next, use as many elbows in close as possible. Don’t try and get in to a war with this guy, ‘DC’ is the king of the grind and doesn’t care if this fight is pretty or ugly, also don’t try and take a rest.
Predictions to come at a later date, on to Rockhold/Weidman…