Prediction: Roman Dolidze vs. Jack Hermansson | UFC on ESPN 42
A middleweight clash of two dangerous 34-year-old fighters is set to unfold when Roman “The Caucasian” Dolidze (11-1; 5-1 in the UFC) takes on 8th-ranked, Jack “The Joker” Hermansson (23-7; 10-5 in the UFC).
Both Dolidze and Hermansson are fully filled-out middleweights who enter the octagon well beyond the 185lb divisional weigh-in limit. Their natural size, accompanied by each fighter having well-rounded talent with top 5 aspirations in the near future, makes this fight a high-stakes affair with danger looming for every second the fight lasts!
Jack Hermansson is a -190 favorite over Roman Dolidze, who comes back at a +160 price tag.
Roman Dolidze resembles his fellow countryman, Giga Chikadze, not in fight style, but in growth since entering the UFC. Early in his career, Dolidze showcased bits and pieces of elite talent but seemed to “play with his food” far more than finding the easiest – and quickest – path to victory. Because of this, fighter intelligence was a significant concern, as he fought fights that were far closer than what they should have been from a pure talent perspective, as Dolidze has a significant well-rounded ability with bits of eliteness within his game. But, similarly to Giga, Dolidze has seemingly turned a corner to now, fighting to his potential which makes him an extremely dangerous test for nearly any middleweight.
The tough test of Dolidze was on full display within his last two fights, as he finished respected middleweights – Kyle Daukaus and Phil Hawes – in convincing fashion within the first round. This first-round finishing ability showcases the elite attribute of his game, as he possesses dangerous power in both hands. Beyond power alone, Dolidze understands how to land a variety of strikes quite cleanly and has comfort with grappling, both from an offensive and defensive perspective. This culmination of skill, combined with having an impressive size for the division, makes him a developing problem for the division, particularly if he continues to improve at the rate he has done over this past year.
Being a dangerous middleweight may not be directly associated with Jack Hermansson, but if you look closely at his game, the attributes he weaponizes in the octagon quickly showcases the dangerous problem he is when fighting. In particular, Jack does an incredible job leveraging his elite cardio with general top 10 well-rounded fight ability to put on a pace and pressure that creates quick separation between him and his opponent. This cardio cannot go understated given Jack fully comprehends how to use it, and, understands how frequent output can make his opponent desperate as the fight ensues.
Frustrating his opponent with constant movement, a pepper-like jab, and level changes, plays right into the game of Jack. The reason for this is as the opponent becomes more desperate, the more likely an opportunity will arise to counter, and given Jack has a solid 1-2, underrated calf kick, and impressive wrestling, any opportunity to counter will allow him to further separate from his opponent, particularly opponents who lack legitimate top 10 ability, i.e. match the well-rounded skills of himself.
I have been eager to back Roman Dolidze as I truly believe he has turned a corner and has just scratched the surface of what his newfound fighting ability is. The issue is that Jack Hermansson presents a problem for him as Jack can not only match the physical prowess but also, understands how to beat a heavy-handed power puncher. Because of Jack’s veteran intelligence and ability to separate himself from output and wrestling, I am backing him in this fight. But, fully knowing Dolidze has elite power and a growing well-rounded fight game, I believe the disparity in talent will be closer than one would presume when seeing him fighting a “non-ranked” middleweight challenger.
Bet: Jack Hermansson to win by decision (bet now at MyBookie)