Jan Blachowicz vs. Thiago Santos
|Date & Time||Saturday February 23, 2019, 5:00 PM (EST)|
Prague, Czech Republic
The Line: Santos -129 / Blachowicz +101 -- Over/Under:
Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 145 at the O2 Arena.
Jan Blachowicz enters this fight with a 23-7 record and has won 38 percent of his fights by submission. Blachowicz has won five of his last seven fights and is coming off a September win over Nikita Krylov. Blachowicz is averaging 3.64 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Blachowicz is averaging 1.59 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 54 percent. Blachowicz has earned performance of the night honors in two of his last four wins and this is easily his best stretch of his UFC career. Blachowicz has a deep kickboxing background, so he has a lot of variety to his strikes and is quite accurate whether standing up or in the clinch. Blachowicz has that Polish toughness to him, so he’s willing to take a punch, and he’s only lost by knockout once in his career, which came against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou eight years ago. Blachowicz is also highly effective with his takedowns and two of his last four wins have come by submission. I like Blachowicz more as a striker, but he’s far more than a one trick pony and can certainly hold his own if a fight goes to the canvas. This will be Blachowicz’s first career fight in the Czech Republic.
Thiago Santos enters this fight with a 20-6 record and has won 70 percent of his fights by knockout. Santos has won seven of his last eight fights and is coming off a December win over Jimi Manuwa. Santos is averaging 5.02 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Santos is averaging 0.96 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36 percent. Santos is coming off a second round knockout victory that earned performance of the night honors, as he landed a clean left hand that dropped his opponent. Santos is what his numbers say he is; a knockout artist who throws a massive amount of strikes and just waits for his relentless attack to eventually pay off. Whether standing up, on the canvas or in the clinch, Santos is aggressive and trying to land either one strike or a combination that’s going to work in his favor. Santos is quite athletic and can mix in some leg kicks here and there, but he’s mostly spending the entire fight throwing strikes and looking to finish things. The downside is that Santos can be a bit too wild and sloppy at times, which opens up counters and has led to him being knocked out three times in his career. This will be Santos’ first career fight in the Czech Republic.
This is an interesting fight between a power striker in Santos and a guy with an all-round approach in Blachowicz. Santos has the edge in pure striking power, but Blachowicz is just as effective when it comes to striking accuracy and his Polish roots allow him to take some clean shots without flinching. Santos will have to work if he’s going to treat Blachowicz like many of his past opponents. Also, Blachowicz has a clear edge on the canvas, and I expect some takedowns where he can not only look to finish the fight, but at the very least wear down the power striker and take away some of that pop. Blachowicz does a lot of things well that's needed to counter a fighter with Santos' style.
I’d love to see the prices on these guys and will update with odds once they’re released, but I’m leaning toward Blachowicz winning this bout.
Update: Once again, I'm getting a guy I liked to win as an underdog. I have to stick to my pick of Blachowicz winning this fight.