The main event of UFC on Fox 24 pits Wilson Reis against the “God of Fighting” Demetrious Johnson. It’s a match up that Reis fought hard to earn, but that makes it no less easier by any stretch of the imagination. Demetrious Johnson is tough. Not just the “he takes a good shot” kind of tough, but made of different stuff as far as competition goes. Johnson hopes to crush his opponents by taking their strengths and making them null and void. So while Wilson Reis has certainly earned his spot opposite the champion, he has an uphill battle ahead of him.
As far as performances go, Wilson Reis hasn’t looked like the ultimate world beater. He has good fundamentals as far as his striking goes, but where he really shines is the wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu department. Reis is a ground fighter through and through who uses a variety of different takedowns to get the job done. That said, if he hopes to pick up a victory here then he can’t rely solely on his grappling. In fact, as dangerous as it may sound, Reis should perhaps take a strike first, wrestle second approach to this fight.
Johnson is expecting the takedown in this fight, so using an alternative game plan will be key. But it’s not simply the execution of the strategy that should be considered. Reis’ mindset should be focused on fighting anywhere the fight takes him. If he relies too much on his wrestling and grappling, Johnson will chew him up. Playing the outside game with long range weapons is an ideal strategy to force Johnson to push forward. It’s during these moments that Reis can take advantage and score a reactive takedown. Firing off jabs and front kicks will keep Johnson at bay and when the champ does choose to rattle off combinations, that’s when Reis should look to level change. The gas tank of Reis will be tested in this one, so he’ll have to be smart with his energy systems.
The champion has a far more interesting case on his hands. For Demetrious Johnson, having a multitude of skills to choose from makes his strategy as complex as it is simple. Johnson has so many tools to choose from it’s a matter of being patient and seeing what threat Reis presents. Johnson can choose to be aggressive counter puncher if Reis is passive, hit reactive takedowns if his opponent is overly aggressive. He can box if Reis is looking to shoot in, kickbox if the challenger chooses to box.
For Johnson the sky’s the limit. Preferably the aggressive counter striking approach will likely work best. Touching Reis with jabs, forcing the challenger to shoot in, stuffing the takedown and countering immediately with power punches. As most other ‘Mighty Mouse’ fights, this is Johnson’s match to lose.
It’s a up hill battle for Wilson Reis. Can he get the job done against Demetrious Johnson?
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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