Jack “The Joker” Hermansson (22-7; 9-5 in the UFC), currently ranked 8th in the middleweight division, is set to fight the unranked surging middleweight Chris “The Action Man” Curtis (29-8; 3-0 in the UFC) in the co-main event of UFC London this weekend.
Jack Hermansson has been a ranked middleweight contender for years, having faced just about every elite middleweight in the division. Because of this, his record, of recent note, has been 3-3 over his last six fights, keeping a consistent win one, lose one approach.
Meanwhile, Chris Curtis has impressed in all three of his UFC fights, thus justifiably allowing him a crack at the top ten of the middleweight division.
The odds are seen as a pick’em in either direction, with both Hermansson and Curtis priced at close to -110.
“The Joker” is a well-rounded veteran with sprinkles of special attributes within his fight game. On the feet, Hermansson uses in and out athletic footwork to land his straight down the barrel attack. When he is having success, the speed of his punches accompanied by proper technique allows him to land cleanly; but, when he rushes in and/or his opponent is able to successfully implement defensive footwork to the in and out style of Hermansson, then Jack can seem as if he is lunging punches which leaves him susceptible to getting countered quite forcefully. Luckily, for Jack, is that he does have a good chin, thus allowing him to gather himself after being clocked, and then, transition into his bread and butter of fighting – grappling.
Hermansson’s grappling is a sound combination of strong wrestling with control on the mat. Although he lacks the elite wrestling seen with fighters out of Dagestan and lacks the elite submission game of world-class jiu-jitsu athletes, Hermansson’s ability to be an above grappler in every aspect of MMA allows him to have great success against his opponents. Whether it be a single leg takedown or a grind his way to the mat with clinch wrestling, Hermansson is a dangerous, multifaceted fighter with strong cardio, thus making him a challenging opponent to beat.
Unfortunately, the reason why Hermansson is 3-3 over his last six fights is the lack of fight-ending power on the feet which makes for a close fight; and because of this, Hermansson can lose decisions if judges favor moments on the feet – his opponent – over controlled grappling – Hermansson. So, Jack will need to show a better job of having early success on the feet, thus allowing his grappling to be his cherry on top to win the round(s), and thus, the fight.
Chris Curtis’ nickname of “The Action Man” would lead one to believe he is a wild man in the octagon who foregoes defense to engage in an electrifying flurry of harsh exchanges. If this perceived belief is generally agreed on, then Curtis is simply not “The Action Man”. Now, this may sound like a massive insult, but in fact, I believe the fact Curtis focuses his efforts on defense, both with striking and grappling, accompanied by using patience to win fights warrants the belief that his style is far more suited to have him climb the rankings contrary to a fighter solely looking to entertain with electrifying action.
As stated, Curtis is a defensive-minded fighter that capitalizes on opportunities seen from the overaggressive actions of his opponent. Often, Curtis desires to keep the fight standing because the over-aggression on the feet creates greater openings than that of over-aggressive grapplers. Luckily, Curtis has shown to have a very good takedown defense, therefore allowing him to keep the fight standing.
When openings arise on the feet, Curtis uses balanced boxing and tight elbows to inflict his natural power. Perhaps the best attribute of his balanced attack is his willingness to dig into the body. This form of punch was seen quite often throughout his last fight because his opponent was known to have bad cardio, and a body punch is perhaps one of the best attacks to further deplete the gas tank of one’s opponent. Choosing this method of attack showcases impressive fight intelligence, thus making Curtis a complete MMA fighter.
Curtis has shown he knows how to beat dangerous fighters in the UFC. Hermansson has shown he can halt surging prospects while also still competing strongly against the top of the division. Ultimately, I favor Hermansson in this fight. He will be the higher output striker, able to land straight down the barrel attacks against the relatively slow-moving, patient counterpunching style of Curtis.
While Hermansson can leave himself open to counters, which Curtis does extremely well capitalizing on, his ability to recover and attack an alternate path to victory leaves me believing he has the experience and skills necessary to win this fight through a multitude of avenues. So, while the power counterstriking of Curtis is prevalent, I believe Hermansson will be in control of the fight for nearly every moment.
Prediction: Jack Hermansson to win (-110 odds at MyBookie)