Thursday, December 8, 2022

Blachowicz Taking Gustafsson Approach Against “Experienced” Teixeira

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz is well aware of the threat veteran Brazilian Glover Teixeira will pose in the UFC 267 main event.

The pair will collide this Saturday in what will be Blachowicz’s first title defense against a member of the 205-pound roster. After his championship crowning at UFC 253 last September, which saw him finish Dominick Reyes in the second round, the Polish powerhouse’s first challenge came from below.

At UFC 259 in March this year, Blachowicz looked to stop the two-division champ quest of middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya. “The Last Stylebender” had conquered Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Paulo Costa on his way to an unblemished 20-0 record at 185 pounds. Despite his underdog status continuing into the headlining bout, the Pole comfortably defeated Adesanya on the scorecards.

Now, Blachowicz will face the in-form #1-ranked light heavyweight as he looks to build his dominant reign over the 205-pound division.

However, Teixeira will be no easy task. Since going 2-3 in the promotion between 2016 and 2018, the Brazilian has built an impressive five-fight win streak that includes victories over Ion Cuțelaba, Nikita Krylov, Anthony Smith, and Thiago Santos.

During a recent interview with SCMP MMA, Blachowicz spoke about his upcoming opponent. The champion acknowledged the 41-year-old’s experience and ability to catch opponents with his high-level jiu-jitsu.

“I think that his experience. Because he’s got a lot of experience. He know how to use his skills. Of course, jiu-jitsu: high level. This is his best weapon. But he know how to make you tired and knock you out. He know how to survive bad moment. You think you got him, but he’s old fox, so he’s got a lot of experience. And then he catch you, he grab you, and submit you. So you need to be careful for that.”

Discussing his game plan for Saturday’s main event, the Cieszyn-born star suggested it will be in his best interests to keep the fight standing. According to Blachowicz, being patient and looking for a second or third-round knockout will be his path to victory.

“If fight goes to the ground, I’m gonna be ready for everything what he got for me, but I think so that even if he take me down, I will stand up and the fight will be on the feet, for me the best to keep fighting on the feet and knock him out by hands in second or third round. That would be the best way for me to win the fight, not the first because if you try to do this the first, then he can catch you. You need to wait, make him tired.”

Blachowicz reiterated the danger his challenger poses when opponents jump in too fast, citing Santos’ submission loss to Teixeira last November as an example. The 28-year-old is targeting a performance and finish similar to Alexander Gustafsson’s Stockholm display against Teixeira in 2017.

“You need to control this. When you hit him and he goes down, you need to calm down. ‘OK, it’s not the moment.’ OK if you hit him so hard (that) he’s almost finished, you need to go and finish. But you need to know when to do this. Not the first because he can use this and win the fight like he do this with Thiago [Santos]. So I will not do this mistake. I’m going to finish him little bit later, like Gustafsson. He wait to knock him out (until) the third round. He wait, he wait, he wait for his good moment, and then he finish him. So I’m going to do the same like Gustafsson. Same way.”

Who do you think will leave UFC 267 as the light heavyweight king, Jan Blachowicz or Glover Teixeira?