David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson
|Date & Time||Saturday March 30, 2019, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
Wells Fargo Center
The Line: Branch +108 / Hermansson -122 -- Over/Under:
David Branch and Jack Hermansson fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN 2 at the Wells Fargo Center.
David Branch enters this fight with a 22-5 record and has won 41 percent of his fights by decision. Branch has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a November loss to Jared Cannonier. Branch is averaging 1.67 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Branch is averaging 2.58 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 33 percent. Branch went from not losing a fight since 2012 to losing two of his four UFC fights since coming up from the WSOF, and he ate some heavy shots from Cannonier in a second round knockout. The good news is despite five career losses, Branch has never lost back-to-back fights in his career. Branch is a rangy technically sound fighter with solid stand up striking and impressive takedown skills. Branch doesn’t defend takedowns well and has been knocked out three times in his career, but he’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and usually has the edge on the canvas with his wrestling skills. Branch has won four of his last nine fights by submission and has finished five career fights with the rear-naked choke. Branch doesn’t exactly do any one thing spectacular, but he’s solid in all areas and is a smart fighter who always seems to be in control of the octagon. This will be Branch’s third career fight in Pennsylvania.
Jack Hermansson enters this fight with a 18-4 record and has won 61 percent of his fights by knockout. Hermansson has won four of his last five fights and is coming off a December win over Gerald Meerschaert. Hermansson is averaging 4.92 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 57 percent. Hermansson is averaging 2.12 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 47 percent. Hermansson is an exciting fighter who has seen four of his last five fights end in the first round, and he has a chance to really turn some heads with his third straight victory under the UFC banner. Hermansson is an accurate, effective striker who has a vicious ground and pound and lands 47 percent of his strikes on the canvas. Hermansson has 11 career knockouts under his belt and six of those knockouts have come outside of the first round, so he’s a well conditioned fighter who can maintain his level of power throughout the bout. Hermansson has a background in submission wrestling, but he enjoys gaining top position and dropping heavy strikes once on the canvas. This will be Hermansson’s first career fight in Pennsylvania.
You can make a case for either one of these guys given that they have similar styles. Hermansson probably should be the favorite due to being better at defending takedowns and his raw striking power to put fighters away. However, Branch is the longer, more patient fighter and would have the edge on the canvas from a wrestling standpoint. If Branch can gain position, he can drag Hermansson into deep waters and really take control of this fight, possibly even forcing a submission. There’s just something about Branch’s calmness and being in control that you have to like in the octagon.
As an underdog, I’ll give Branch the edge.