The Beaten Path: Get to Know New UFC Light Heavyweight Jan Blachowicz

Last week, the UFC announced it had signed Poland's Jan Blachowicz to a fight in its light heavyweight division.

Though he was signed in January, this will mark Blachowicz's UFC debut. He's expected to face Ilir Latifi at UFC Fight Night 53 in Sweden.

Long considered a top prospect at 205 pounds, he could be an excitement infusion for the weight class, currently so thin it's almost brittle, not unlike rice paper.

Actually, the brittle descriptor works on more than one level. When Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Mauricio Rua are still considered upper crust, you open yourself up to claims of fragility.

In any event, the 31-year-old Blachowicz (17-3) is about as good of a light heavyweight prospect as exists on the open (i.e., non-American) market. Most of his pro career has unfolded in KSW, Poland's flagship promotion and one of the best MMA operations in Europe.

Despite the stiff competition there, Blachowicz's last loss occurred more than three years ago, when he fell by TKO to UFC veteran Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. He has since gone on a five-fight win streak, however, which included avenging his loss to Sokoudjou and capturing and twice defending the KSW light heavyweight title. And those wins were not over any Eastern bloc no-names either. His last four victims—Sokoudjou, Mario Miranda, Houston Alexander and Goran Reljic—all have wins in the UFC.

Blachowicz is a talented and exciting light heavyweight, even if he sports a few shortcomings classic to the European fighter. His striking game is sharp and strong, even if he doesn't possess the kind of knockout power that makes a danger out of less precise blows.

The last time Blachowicz fought in a cage was in 2010, a second-round submission victory.

When it comes to the ground game, he prefers to dump opponents on their backsides using short but deep double-leg takedowns, then work from the top, either with ground-and-pound or a submission, usually a rear-naked choke or kimura. His mat work is clearly informed by his time with Pawel Nastula, the 1996 Olympic judo gold medalist and an alumnus of Pride and KSW who now trains fighters, including Blachowicz, in Poland.

Blachowicz is not the greatest athlete in the world, though he does seem to possess decent cardio. He kind of just tromps around in there, and in so doing, he makes himself fairly easy to hit.

That's unfortunate for Blachowicz, because he doesn't appear to like getting hit. Also based on sparing fight footage, he doesn't seem to enjoy working from the bottom on the ground, where he usually just pulls guard and waits for a referee's stand-up. And just as he's susceptible to getting hit, he's also susceptible to the takedown

It's the classic bully who doesn't like to be bullied.

So, in essence, he's a European ground-and-pound artist who may be vulnerable to an American ground-and-pound artist. That said, his skill set can get plenty done, especially in a division as scattershot as light heavyweight.

His first UFC test, against a rugged fireplug of a wrestler in European Latifi, could reveal a lot. It will also be his first engagement in four years that will take place inside a cage. It's certainly not something he's used to doing, as KSW employed a ring during his entire tenure there (it recently switched to a cage but only after Blachowicz signed with the UFC). It will be interesting to see how he adapts to that; far more famous names have struggled with the transition.

Latifi is a savvy first assignment from the UFC matchmaking brain trust. If Blachowicz can pass that test (and even if he can't), he could be a solid addition to the UFC light heavyweight division. Think Stipe Miocic with more of tendency toward submissions and less of a tendency toward wrestling and boxing.

The Beaten Path is an ongoing series from Bleacher Report MMA that highlights the sport's top prospects. You can check out the latest interview here. Scott Harris covers MMA and other things for Bleacher Report and other places. Follow Scott on Twitter, if you feel so inclined.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Fight Night 95 draws announced sold-out attendance of 8,410 fans in Brasilia

  • 27 days ago

BRASILIA, Brazil – Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 95 event drew an announced attendance of 8,410 for the UFC’s second show in Brazil’s capital city.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Undercard Bouts Dominate Fighter Bonuses at UFC Brasilia |

  • 27 days ago

The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced the fighter bonuses stemming from UFC Fight Night: Cyborg vs. Lansberg following Saturday's event in Brasilia, Brazil. read news >>

Six additional bouts announced for UFC Fight Night 100 on Nov. 19 in Sao Paulo

  • 27 days ago

BRASILIA, Brazil – After Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Alexander Gustafsson were announced as UFC Fight Night 100’s headliners, company executives confirmed six additional bouts for the promotion’s fi read news >>

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Rogerio Nogueira Headlines Next UFC Event in Brazil |

  • 26 days ago

UFC officials announced that Alexander Gustafsson and Rogerio Nogueira would headline UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo, adding a slew of other bouts to the card. read news >>

Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez Announced for UFC 205: Latest Details, Reaction

  • 25 days ago

Conor McGregor’s next fight will come against Eddie Alvarez on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York as part of UFC 205. UFC president Dana White confirmed the match will occur on Tuesday duri read news >>

Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero Announced for UFC 205: Latest Details, Reaction

  • 25 days ago

UFC President Dana White announced Tuesday morning that Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero will face off during the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. UFC vice president of public relations read news >>

Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez: Top Takeaways from UFC 205 Press Conference

  • 24 days ago

One day after the UFC announced Conor McGregor will challenge Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in the main event of UFC 205, the two stars made their way to Madison Square Garden to discuss th read news >>

Bellator inks Cheick Kongo, Ilima Macfarlane to multi-fight contract extensions

  • 24 days ago

Bellator has signed two of its notable fighters to contract extensions. Heavyweight Cheick Kongo and women’s flyweight Ilima Macfarlane have both inked multi-fight contract extensions with the organi read news >>

Marat Gafurov Rematches Narantungalag Jadambaa in Second 'ONE: Defending Honor' Title Fight |

  • 23 days ago

A second title match was announced on Thursday for ONE: Defending Honor with featherweight champion Marat Gafurov set to rematch Narantungalag Jadambaa. read news >>

Conan O'Brien announces live that he's a part-owner of the UFC (Video)

  • 22 days ago

Conan O'Brien announced live on his show that, thanks to the purchase by WME-IMG, he's a part-owner of the UFC. He also listed a tonof investors along with him.There has been no shortage of read news >>