This weekend, Jan Blachowicz will clash with Corey Anderson to establish the true dark horse of the Light Heavyweight division. Their pay is low, their fight hype is low, and Jon Jones is looking more and more beatable each time out. No one has to get excited, no one has to believe either will be the champion, but they should pay attention to how these men express themselves against one another this weekend. The result determines who will ascend in the queue of title contention. More importantly, the performance they give is what will show the fans where they are talent wise in that division.
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Dominick Reyes had very few believers that he could or would shock the world against Jon Jones. Dana White, and a few in the media liked Reyes’s chances and Reyes went in there and showed us why it was right to believe in him. Blachowicz and Anderson are fired up and there is no reason to think these fighters cannot beat the Jon Jones we have all been watching lately.
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Each half of this main event is a dark horse for their own reasons. Blachowicz has looked promising for some time. Alexander Gustaffson got a ton of hype after losing to Jones. That same guy gave Gustaffson a lot of trouble. Before that, Jan lost to Jimi Manuwa, and he lost to Cory Anderson. But Jan returned to defeat Manuwa, beat Jared Cannonier, and knock out Luke Rockhold, then grinded out a win against Jacare Souza. No one has noticed Jan Blachowicz very much, but with a victory on Saturday he has the potential to be. Blachowicz is probably not a world beater, but he is improving and sometimes it takes fighters more time than others.
Corey Anderson is a budding dominator in the Light Heavyweight Division. He started on the ultimate fighter and he got knocked out three times, okay, that is fine. But all of his losses are to fighters who are much further from the title contention than he is. He came in with a platform, he lost some hype, but he had just started in his career. Not everyone will be a top guy in their first few years.
Anderson won four in a row, is coming off a knockout win and it was on possibly the biggest card of 2019. Even better, he finally showed his heart to the fans. He has taken shots at Jon Jones before, but that came off as envious and complaints. In November he crumbled Johnny Walker. Walker did so many things to dismiss Anderson as even a challenge. The fans treated Corey as a cast away, but Corey went in there and he destroyed Walker. Took his dreams, his consciousness, and his heart. Walker then publicly blamed his coaches for his loss. In the combat world, that is pathetic.
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Corey ran him over like a train and then went off the rails. It was a sight to behold. Corey Anderson made a point to scream in Walker’s face while Walker was disoriented. He was cursing, possibly spitting, and he showed everyone how much the fans, media and opponents have been upsetting him. Do not forget that Anderson’s last loss was preceded by domination by Anderson for almost every minute of the fight.
A guy like Corey that showed that hunger just three months ago is coming to fight. He got right back in the gym, he is probably still pissed, and we get to watch these dark horses settle things on Saturday night.■