Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz will face off on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 167 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
The fight will serve as a probable title eliminator, as the winner has an excellent chance of receiving a shot at Jon Jones for the light heavyweight crown somewhere down the line.
Anderson Expects to Dominate in Rematch
Anderson and Blachowicz are no strangers. Back in 2015, the two fought at UFC 191, with Anderson walking away with a unanimous-decision victory.
That win, combined with an overall more impressive resume, has made Anderson the favorite heading into Saturday’s bout. FanDuel Sportsbook rates Anderson as a -215 pick over Blachowicz (+180), with most books offering similar numbers.
Anderson (13-4) has expressed confidence that this is his fight to lose, and believes that if he puts on an impressive performance, he can move up from his No. 5 contender ranking to earn a title shot. But that won’t distract him from the challenge he faces on Saturday.
“I just have to worry about Jan Blachowicz. That’s my championship fight,” Anderson told reporters on media day. “I can’t sit here and worry about ‘Oh, am I going to get the title fight next?’ Because we’ve got Jon Jones talking about going to heavyweight. They’re talking about this rematch now. You put all of this different pressure on yourself, and you go out there and get out of your mindset.”
For the 36-year-old Blachowicz (25-8), this fight represents a late-career chance to get back in the title picture. He has won six of his last seven fights, and is coming off a split decision victory in November over Ronaldo Souza.
Blachowicz Says He’s a New Fighter
The Polish veteran may not get many more chances to prove he can be a championship-caliber fighter. But if he can pull off an upset and avenge his earlier loss to Anderson, he’ll have a legitimate argument for getting the next shot at the light heavyweight belt.
Blachowicz says he was out of shape for his first fight with Anderson, and vowed that he’ll show something different in the rematch.
“My wrestling is much better than when we fought the fight time,” Blachowicz told MMA Fighting. He’s going to fight a completely different fighter. The pressure is going to be on his side. I cannot wait. I believe and I feel inside me that I got Corey Anderson because I never lose a rematch.”
UFC Fight Night 167 Odds
- Corey Anderson (-215) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+180)
- Diego Sanchez (+148) vs. Michel Pereira (-174)
- Montana De La Rosa (-174) vs. Mara Romero Borella (+148)
- Brok Weaver (-320) vs. Kazula Vargas (+260)
- Rogerio Bontorin (+124) vs. Ray Borg (-146)
- Lando Vannata (-108) vs. Yancy Medeiros (-108)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Anderson appears to have the advantage in nearly every aspect of this fight, making it hard to find a path to victory for Blachowicz. The American is the younger fighter, is more capable of finishing a fight either on his feet or on the mat, and is stronger than Blachowicz. He also holds the psychological edge after winning their first fight, even if it was several years ago.
In the UFC Fight Night 167 co-main event, welterweights Diego Sanchez (29-12) and Michel Pereira (22-10) meet in what should be an entertaining affair between two men who can certainly put on a show, even if they aren’t title contenders. Pereira enters the fight as a -174 favorite over Sanchez (+148).