UFC Fight Night 107 is a card that seems to be flying under the radar. I knew there were fights again this weekend but I have to admit even I had no clue who was fighting until I did a bit of investigation. To my surprise, it turns out that this card features some key nit events including the potential swan song of the always entertaining Brad Pickett as well as the main event which features Jimi Manuwa versus Corey Anderson. But if you’ve been following any of my articles closely then you know that I’m a bit of a traditional martial arts fanatic. That means a great deal of my focus has shifted to the co-main event featuring Muay Thai specialist Alan Jouban and karate and Brazilian jiujitsu master Gunnar Nelson.
Alan Jouban opened a lot of eyes with his disciplined win over the slugging Mike Perry. He utilized some slick movement, hard left body kicks, sharp left straights, and an overall disciplined boxing game to shut down Perry even hurting the durable welterweight a number of times throughout the encounter. He faces a far more difficult challenge in this match as he faces off with the puzzle that is Nelson. What Jouban will need to do in order to be successful against Nelson is control the middle and short range. While at middle distance Jouban will need to keep busy, immediately firing with jabs as well as that left leg and body kick he’s fond of. Considering that Nelson likes to strike at long range and look for takedowns at short range, whoever establishes dominance at middle distance will likely win this match. If he is taken down, Jouban can’t be content to regain guard or patiently wait for opportunities. Nelson is calculated when he gets things to the ground. Scrambles will be important to getting back to his feet, but Jouban will have to be careful when doing so as Nelson is keen at getting back control and holding the position.
Gunnar Nelson on the other hand faces a similar problem in this matchup as he did when he faced Brandon Thatch. Controlling the middle distance is paramount for the karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert. He’ll have to bounce in and out of range and either force Jouban to throw and miss or move forward with too much aggression. It’s when Jouban decides to push forward that a blitzing counter should be awaiting him. Gunnar Nelson has a clear boxing deficiency and does struggle at times when facing opposition with superior hands at middle distance. That’s why it’s important that he turns this into a karate match on the feet. After a short combo burst he should get out of dodge ASAP. When he full commits and transition to his takedown game, he should look to mix things up, disengage to throw off Jouban then re-enter with another strike before pushing for a legit trip or double leg.
With two talented welterweights the sky’s the limit on how entertaining (or boring) this match can be. Who do you think gets the win?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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