Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight bruisers Glover Teixeira and Jared Cannonier this Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) at UFC 208 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
After a rough 2014 in which he suffered a pair of tough losses, Teixeira stormed back with three consecutive finishes. The Brazilian had the chance to earn a second title shot in his last bout, but he was clipped quickly by the ferocious punching power of Anthony Johnson. On the other hand, Cannonier is still a newcomer to UFC. He came up short in his Octagon debut, but the Alaskan has since put together a pair of very impressive victories since and is undefeated at Light Heavyweight.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: Ryan Bader (UFC 160), Rashad Evans (UFC on FOX 19), Ovince St. Preux (UFC Fight Night 73), Quinton Jackson (UFC on FOX 6)
Key Losses: Jon Jones (UFC 172), Anthony Johnson (UFC 202), Phil Davis (UFC 179)
Keys to Victory: One of the sport’s most effective finishers, Teixeira is a jiu-jitsu black belt with nasty knockout power. Between his skill set, athleticism, and experience, it’s not hard to see why Teixeira is a top contender.
In this match up, Teixeira has two real options. First and foremost, Teixeira loves to punch and has scored 15 knockouts. He’s the more experienced striker and has fought similarly dangerous punchers in the past.
There’s no reason he can’t walk his foe down, cut off the cage, and look for his Sweet 16.
With that in mind, the smart game plan here would be to pressure box until there’s an opening for the takedown. Teixeira’s top game is nasty, as he does great work with heavy ground strikes and threatens with submissions. Cannonier showed decent takedown defense in his last bout, but he did wind up on his back a couple times before his foe slowed down.
Against Teixeira, just a single takedown could end his night.
Key Wins: Ion Cutelaba (TUF 24 Finale), Cyril Asker (UFC Fight Night 86), Tony Lopez (AFC 104)
Key Losses: Shawn Jordan (UFC 182)
Keys to Victory: Cannonier is a very athletic striker. He moves very quickly and sets up his strikes like a much lighter fighter, which has inspired some hope about his potential. In his most recent match up, Cannonier showed off his toughness and conditioning, outlasting a game opponent and doing real damage in the later rounds.
In this match up, speed may just be Cannonier’s saving grace. His opponent is tough, well-rounded, and skilled, but he’s never been the most mobile athlete. He’s been hit hard while trying to close range in the past, including in his recent knockout loss.
To give himself the best chance at success, Cannonier needs to focus on speed and movement to begin the bout. He’s likely the sharper man at range, where he can burst in with solid combinations or draw his foe into a hard counter shot.
It’s very important that Cannonier avoid being walked into the fence while working the outside. From there, he’s very vulnerable to both punches and the takedown, both of which could abruptly disrupt his strategy and put Cannonier in a terrible position.
Bottom Line: This is a very important bout for the Light Heavyweight division.
For Teixeira, it’s a chance to rebound from the quickest loss of his professional career. He’s been fighting a long time, and a dramatic knockout like the one he suffered can change things. More than anything else, Teixeira has to prove that he’s still a top athlete and can recover from that loss.
With a win, Teixeira is right back in the swing of things and can fight a top 10 foe next. Hell, if Daniel Cormier retains his title, Teixeira is not all that far off from a shot at the strap. If, however, Teixeira suffers a second straight loss, his immediate future and status as a contender becomes very uncertain.
On the other hand, Cannonier has a chance to score the biggest win of his career and announce himself as a top contender. The odds may be against him, but the rewards are definitely worth the risk.
If Cannonier comes up short, it’s hardly the end of the world. He’s still reasonably young in his professional career and will likely receive other chances in the future.
At UFC 208, Glover Teixeira and Jared Cannonier will throw down. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?
Source:: mma mania