The UFC returns to New Mexico for the first time since 2014 as the UFC Fight Night series heads to Rio Rancho Saturday night for its 167th rendition. Both the preliminary and main card will be televised on ESPN+, with coverage beginning at 5:00 pm EST and the main card kicking off at 8 pm EST. Serving as the co-main event of the evening, Diego Sanchez (+138) will take on Michel Pereira (-162) in a welterweight event featuring two of the division’s veterans looking for one last surge towards a belt. In the main event Saturday night, a light heavyweight rematch between Corey Anderson (-225) and Jan Blachowicz (+186) will close out this card as the two face off with a potential future fight with division champion Jon Jones at stake. Let’s take a closer look at this clash of light heavyweights to see where we can spot an edge.
Corey Anderson (13-4-0) vs. Jan Blachowicz (25-8-0)
These odds were taken from FanDuel Sportsbook on February 12, 2020.
Currently ranked fifth in the light heavyweight division, Corey Anderson is on a mission for his first shot at the light heavyweight belt. Over his last four fights, dating back to the start of 2018, Anderson is a perfect 4-0, including most recently a first-round TKO defeat over Johnny Walker at UFC 244 in November. In that defeat, the always cocky Walker got it taken to him from the get-go with Anderson dominating the fight from the opening bell, ultimately earning Performance of the Night honors. Since making his debut in the UFC in 2014 when winning The Ultimate Fighter 19 Tournament, Anderson has only really got caught once, a 2017 first-round knockout at the hands of Jimi Manuwa. Not only is Anderson 4-1 since that loss, but he has looked more in control in the octagon in each fight since, and I believe he is poised for another strong performance in this one.
On the other side of this matchup, Jan Blachowicz enters the octagon at the ripe age of 36 hoping for one final push for a shot at the belt. Spending the first six years of his professional career fighting in Poland for the Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) league, Blachowicz won the light heavyweight belt for that promotion and held it for two defenses before ultimately signing with the UFC in 2014. Since joining the UFC, Blachowicz has amassed a record of 8-5, with 62% of his bouts being left up to a decision by the referees. The last time we saw Blachowicz in the octagon, he was also headlining a card, that time against former middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza. In that fight, Blachowicz threw more than double the punches of Souza, landing 105 of his total 205 strikes compared to 56 of 88 from Souza.
Unlike his fight against Souza, Blachowicz won’t be able to get away with swinging for the fences if he’s hoping to come out on top against Anderson. A pure striker, Anderson can counter with the best of them in this division and is constantly moving forward as he did against Walker who got off just three total swings in the duration of the fight. In this one, I like the younger and harder-hitting Anderson to close this out well before the final bell.