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MMA Labology Breakdown: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira

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Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira

Glover Teixeira

When you look at the pathways of careers, Glover’s runs very parallel to George Foreman’s. Not in all ways obviously — Foreman was a former heavyweight champion before his departure and return — but the way he stormed the gates of the division at 40 years old to earn himself another title shot. At 45, George Foreman regained the title against Michael Moorer and would hold onto that strap for three more fights until being dethroned at 47 years of age against Shannon Briggs, which ended up being the last fight of his career.

Teixeira has taken all the proper steps to get to the reachable peak of this quest, but the largest task is still in front of him Saturday night. With one failed attempt for the title against Jon Jones ending in vein once before, I think it is fair to say that this will be the defining moment of his career. The 41-year-old second-degree black belt in BJJ under Luigi Monelli and the fifth-degree black belt in lajukenbo under John Hackleman, former head trainer of Chuck Lidell. For those unfamiliar, kajukenbo is a formulation of multiple art forms. A hybrid if you will: KA(Karate)JU(Judo and JiuJitsu)KEN(Kenpo)BO(Boxing). I wouldn’t consider the art form to be extremely effective alone, but what it does do is give you a massive foundation to build off when you decide to pigeonhole each one and lay the paint over the primer.

With a record of 32-7, Teixeira has only been finished three times by way of KO and the former gold and silver medal winner in the ADCC South American Championship has never been submitted. With grappling credentials like these, you will be surprised to know that he still leans on his striking as a means to most of his ends. With 18 of his wins by way of KO and nine submissions, Glover has some of the most underrated boxing in the division. However, when all else fails or you open a window for him, Teixeira will in fact take you to the sandbox to test your grappling. His well-rounded ability and his tireless will and work ethic make him a dangerous player in every fight he is in. Although Teixeira has only lost to the top of the heap in his career, he did have his spotty times on this journey. That said, now is not one of those times. It seems Teixeira has had a bit of a resurgence in his game, and with a five-fight winning streak under his belt, the stars are aligning perfectly for him to finally get to slap the top of the mountain and strike gold. 

Pros:

  • Boxing: His boxing is extremely underrated. Teixeira tends to put his head on the centerline a bit too much for my liking, but his understanding of output, pace and sticking to the fundamentals of boxing are far better than many give him credit for. He understands that headhunting may look good, but chopping to the body will allow the head to drop and become exposed. It is the old school mentality where the young highlight reel generation just can’t comprehend. 
  • Grappling: His credentials speak for themselves, but what makes his grappling so dangerous is the fact he doesn’t lean on it like many with his credentials. In turn, preparing for Teixeira needs to be a very well-rounded approach. 
  • Cage IQ: Teixeira’s cage IQ comes from years of experience but also the caliber of talent he has faced. There is nothing you are going to throw at him that he has not seen before. Teixeira understands when and how to approach when to back off, and when to move in for the kill. He can read poker faces in all situations because he has seen them all. However, most importantly, he understands who and what he is up against in every fight and prepares accordingly. 
  • Durability: This is a tricky one because he is over 40 now, but historically, Teixeira has stood the test of time when it comes to having his chin checked. As time doesn’t wait for anyone, he has shown some cracks in the chin in his older years. That said, his durability has shown to be one of the more minor concerns when considering him.

Cons:

  • Age: At the end of the day, all the great things I just said about him need to be taken with a grain of salt, and here is why: Teixeira has all these tools above, and his mind knows exactly where it needs to flow in order to be advantageous in certain spots, but You do get to a certain age where the body still needs to respond. Fighting is a game of adjustments and timing, but when your brain tells your body what it wants to do, the reaction times begin to rust as we get older. Those reaction times can be the difference in split seconds of winning and losing exchanges. 
  • Damage: Teixeira has been extremely durable in his career for the most part, but baiting him into a firefight is not the hardest thing in the world. He will sit in the pocket with you and trade and although he is very good at doing so, it doesn’t take away the fact that he doesn’t have much movement off the centerline. He eats a lot of damage in these situations, and eventually, something is going to give at the age of 41 if he keeps that pace up.

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Jan Blachowicz

Blachowicz has his work cut out for him against a hungry old lion who knows this is his last chance, but he’s not a young pup in this game either. Blachowicz has taken a similar yet different path in this game. Teixeira was never really an afterthought of the division. At one point in time, Blachowicz was snickered at, and his career under the banner was actually in question. To say Blachowicz got here taking the hard road is an absolute understatement. He’s 38 now and has a record of 28-8, but he started his UFC run with a record of 2-4. Questions loomed if maybe it was a little too much for the gladiator from Poland, but after stringing four fights together with two performances of the night and one fight of the night, Blachowicz was back on the radar and back in the good graces of UFC brass. He would then have a blip on his radar when he was KO’d by Thiago Santos only to reset again, go on a five-fight win streak, win the strap and have two title defenses and two more performances of the nights. The one they call Polish Power has seemingly come into his own at 38 years young and ripping that belt away from him now is going to be a tall order for anyone. 

The black belt in BJJ has a very well-rounded finishing rate with 8 KOS and 9 Submissions, In his eight losses, he has been KO’d twice, submitted once. So he too has been extremely durable in his career. The one thing I would like to confront is this entire Polish Power thing. Do I think he has power? Yes. However, this is a very recent thing. He is not a huge KO artist, and if you look at his resume, it supports that. He went through a very meaty part of his career where he was not finishing many people by KO, and then recently he has been waxing them. Why is this? Well, if you look at the opposition, many have serious chin issues. Corey Anderson’s, Luke Rockhold’s and Dominick Reyes’ chins were suspect from jump street to me. He is still finishing them, yes, but I think there was a narrative landed on him and he ran with it. That said, I do like the whole “Legendary Polish Power” thing, and why shouldn’t he enjoy it? He earned it. 

Pros:

  • Grappling: I know Blachowicz is “Polish Power,” but I think his grappling is the most dangerous weapon in his arsenal given the division.  He is extremely sharp on the ground and really has a good grasp on when to use it. He will club-and-sub you or strategically work his way into advantageous positions for optimal submission situations. He is not going to wow you with crazy transitional grappling, but Blachowicz will you use straight-up solid traditional aspects to find what he wants.
  • Striking: I wouldn’t call him a great smooth-flowing striker but he, like Teixeira, just gets it. He understands how and when to throw, with how much heat, and when to engage or disengage. He world well behind his kicks and his jabs until he is able to uncork something when your defenses are in disarray. 
  • Cage IQ: Blachowicz really has a solid understanding of the fight in real-time. In other words, even if he can’t implement something in the adjustment phase, he does know it’s there and he will at least try and find a path of least resistance. Where other fighters can’t lay a full bead on the situation and their opposition, he does a good job scanning the fight, which allows him to make minimal mistakes. 

Cons:

  • Athletic Ability: Blachowicz is a good athlete, but he can be robotic at times in the cage. However, it works for him, because his style of fighting wouldn’t be justified if he was a guy that fought laterally off his back foot while sticking jabs searching for angles, and baiting traps. Blachowicz just creates his own by pushing forward. 
  • A Tad Overrated: Look, I love Blachowicz but I do think he is a little overrated. The shine coming off the Israel Adesanya fight is a little blown up. He won the fight bar none, but he also beat a middleweight who came up and took his shot at the light heavyweight crown. It is a fantastic win, but in my opinion, he isn’t one of the more dominant champions we have seen. 

This is a tough fight to call. I think durability is going to play a major role here coupled with just accumulation. The more accumulation and time expiring will ultimately slow one man down, and I think that will be Glover Teixeira. I think Teixeira is the better fighter by inches, but very close inches and I think, even though Blachowicz is up there in age as well, he is still the fresher of the two. The grappling most likely can cancel itself out — even though Teixeira is the better grappler on the ground, Blachowicz is still extremely efficient there. So this will boil down to who is more economical on the feet at a more steady state over five rounds. I would love to see the story happen again like it did when Foreman captured the magic that night, but I think Teixeira comes up a little short in a very good fight.

The Pick: Blachowicz by lake KO

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DFS

Glover Teixeira ($7,200)
100 + Points 4 of 10
Current Market Value 5 of 10
Hedge 3

There is no way you can count this guy out in any capacity. Extremely tight boxing with a focus on in the pocket dirty exchanges. A black belt in BJJ that can fold anyone in the division if given the opportunity to really use it, Teixeira is what you would call a very complete fighter. What makes him so special is his ability to erase the past, forget his age, and just put his nose down and work with no timeframes or expectations. In turn, he knew this chance would come again if he built his way back brick by brick. Here he is looking to write a George Foreman-type story and cap a legacy that many only hope for. My issue here is that he is getting to the tipping point, and although he has an amazing ability to gather himself after being put on skates, you need to wonder how much more he can endure until a wheel falls off. The value is there for the taking if he can manage to keep Blachowicz guessing with the takedown. Even if he doesn’t land one, it will keep Blachowicz honest and not allow him to let his hands go so freely. Another issue is that if he does get it to the ground, Blachowicz is no slouch there. A proven high-Level BJJ black belt in his own right, he will not have an easy time chaining things together. I think this price is a bit disrespectful giving the intel. I’m picking Blachowicz, but to say Teixeira is a $7,200 DK play is off the mark. I wouldn’t fade him here. 

Jan Blachowicz ($9,000)
100 + Points 2 of 10
Current Market Value 6 of 10
Hedge 4

I was never super impressed with Blachowicz, to be honest. I think he is a very good fighter, but as far as a champion, I wouldn’t consider him one of the better ones. He deserves to be there obviously, but I just don’t see him as a long-term champ who will really make this big mark. That said, the guy has been unstoppable lately and is coming into his own at the ripe age of 38. I do think Blachowicz is being inflated here due to his win against Adesanya. However, what people fail to remember is that Adesanya is a natural middleweight. Glover can actually fight at heavyweight if he wanted. So the domination that he showed against Adesanya was predicated much on power and size which will not be easy to implore on Teixeira. With that said, I think Blachowicz gets this done and although he is very pricey for my liking, I can see a finish on the horizon for him late if he gets the opportunity.

How Lab is Betting

Dog or pass situation, but I am passing totally. 

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