Dustin Jacoby UFC

The UFC closes out 2023 in Las Vegas this weekend for UFC 296. It’s a stacked card and one of the more under-the-radar bangers is the prelim light heavyweight bout between Alonzo Menifield and Dustin Jacoby.

Both men are on the verge of breaking into the top 10 of the chaotic 205-pound division and an impressive win this weekend could be what gets them a shot at the guys at the top of the rankings.

Jacoby vs. Menifield betting odds

Dustin Jacoby opened as the favorite and the line has just gotten wider from there. Possibly surprising with the power of Menifield, but you can get the heavy hitter at over 2:1 odds.

  • Dustin Jacoby: -275
  • Alonzo Menifield: +220

Jacoby vs. Menifield fight breakdown

Dustin Jacoby is a world-class kickboxer. The former Glory light heavyweight is 7-4-1 in the UFC and 7-2-1 since coming back after his time in the kickboxing promotion. He’s coming off an impressive first round knockout win over Kennedy Nzechukwu and, though it’s a loss on his record, put a great showing together against Khalil Rountree. A fight most will agree he should’ve won.

To no one’s surprise, Jacoby’s game plan is to strike. He’s extremely technical with his feints and stance switches, constantly putting something in his opponent’s face to make them think. He usually starts the fight out in orthodox but likes to switch to southpaw where he looks just as good. Most of his success in striking exchanges comes when he’s able to use his movement and feints to draw reactions from his opponent where he can step back out of range before popping back in to land a quick combo.

Defensively, Jacoby defends against the left hand well with his right hand tight to the chin. His head movement is a big part of his defense as well; if he’s planting his feet in to throw heavy punches, he’s moving his head after every strike to avoid the incoming counter. While his guard is usually solid, he often gets caught when he tries switching stances with the front kick feint. He leaves himself on one leg and multiple opponents have been able to read these switches and fire a straight shot that lands on the stationary Jacoby.

His opponent is Alonzo Menifield who is coming into this one following a win as well his last time out. In a two part series with Jimmy Crute that saw the first bout end in draw, Menifield was able to separate himself as the better fighter with a second round guillotine. His record in the UFC is nearly identical to his opponent at 7-3-1 and his last loss was all the way back in 2021, going 3-0-1 since.

Alonzo Menifield is a striker as well but unlike Jacoby, who’s game is predicated more on speed and movement, Menifield likes to wait and time his power counters when he knows his opponent is going to throw. He doesn’t throw a lot of combs which, with his power, he often doesn’t need to to earn the knockout.

Menifield’s counters are simple yet effective. His main go to’s are the right straight and the left hook from orthodox. He has great timing and has continuously improved with reading his opponent and determining when they’re feinting and when they’re throwing. In his last few fights, we’ve seen him use his timing to land the left jab as his opponent enters which he can use to hide the big right hand follow up. A simple change, but something that can help him land a few extra shots that have the potential to end the fight.

Both men like to mix in level changes with their offense but neither guy is a huge threat with their wrestling. Menifield is capable of getting some big slams with his power if he gets his hands locked and Jacoby will press his opponent to the cage and try occasionally to get the takedown, but both men are pretty solid defensively here. Unless Jacoby decides to use the clinch along the cage to tire Menifield out, I don’t see much of this one taking place on the ground.

Menifield’s physique would point to him having poor cardio but he often looks fresh well into the second round. Jacoby’s motor seems to be on a different level than most light heavyweights; he keeps an incredible pace over all 15 minutes with constant pressure. Menifield is capable of fighting at a pretty heavy pace, but I’m not confident he can keep the same pace as Jacoby.

Jacoby vs. Menifield prediction

Menifield hasn’t faced many highly technical strikers in the UFC and I’m not sure it’ll be a good matchup for him. Menifield has a habit of overswings or being too heavy on his front foot which Jacoby has taken advantage of time and time again. However, if Menifield can stay patient and wait for the kicks of Jacoby, they’re not often a follow up to his hands and that’ll be Menifield’s best opportunity to time Jacoby with the heavy right hand.

Finally, and most importantly, I think the hand fighting of Jacoby at range is going to be the key factor that leads him to a win this weekend. His ability to neutralize the lead hand of his opponent will make it hard for Menifield to get any sort of offense going as he’ll be forced to lead with his right hand. He gets heavy on his front leg, loads up the right hand and it should be easy to read for an experienced striker like Jacoby. Though I can see Dustin getting the knockout, it could easily go to a decision as well so I’ll take Jacoby on the moneyline.

Prediction: Jacoby to win (-275)

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