Carlos “Black Jag” Ulberg is 3-1 as an MMA professional after losing his UFC debut by second-round knockout. His opponent, Fabio “Water Buffalo” Cherant is 7-3 overall but 0-2 in the UFC, with both losses coming via first-round knockout.
Ulberg vs. Cherant is an upcoming fight at UFC 271 this Saturday. Fight fans can order the UFC 271 PPV to watch every fight live this Saturday night, including the Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker title fight.
Despite losing as a sizable favorite in his debut, Ulberg is an even bigger favorite in this fight.
- Ulberg: -255
- Cherant: +200
Prior to entering the world of MMA, Ulberg was a rugby player. That particular mix of aggression and athleticism coupled with his kickboxing game should result in a successful UFC prospect. Thus far, Ulberg has had the hype but not the results. In his debut, the Aussie dropped his opponent and nearly finished him early in round 1, but quickly gassed out after not being able to get the finish. Then, in round 2, Ulberg had nothing left in the tank and was knocked out himself. On the positive side, Ulberg showcased the powerful and technical striking that resulted in so much hype. He used his long legs well to throw prodding kicks, like an extended jab, and snapping kicks, like a powerful hook. His speed and power were on full display until they weren’t. As soon as he gassed out, Ulberg’s hands dropped, his movement stopped, and his defense went out the window. If he can get the finish early, it will likely be an exciting highlight-reel knockout. If he is unable to get the finish, his poor gas tank and subsequent defense will, again, highlight his inexperience.
Cherant, also a prospect who entered the UFC with some hype, has struggled since joining the promotion. He is a unique light heavyweight who prefers to grapple and hunt submissions. Five of his seven wins have come via submission, but so far in the UFC, he’s been knocked out so quickly that we haven’t seen that part of his game. Aside from having a questionable jaw, Cherant’s style is also an issue. Most grapple-first fighters want to be the aggressor so they can close the distance. Cherant, on the other hand, is a counter striker on the feet who backs up to the cage, tries to slip a straight strike, and land a looping counter hook of his own. From here, he lets the hook’s momentum initiate the clinch and get the fight in his world. The issue, though, is Cherant is a counter puncher with poor defense and a glass jaw. He has yet to eat a shot or slip a straight effectively enough to implement his game plan. He’ll need to sure up his defense or improve his pressure if he hopes to right the ship.
The loser of this fight is likely cut from the UFC, so both men should come in motivated and aggressive. In what is likely going to be a firefight until someone drops, I side with the more powerful, technical, talented, and pressure heavy fighter: Ulberg. Cherant hasn’t been able to implement his game plan before getting dropped yet; I see him going three-for-three with three first-round KO losses. Take Ulberg to win and win quickly.
Prediction: Ulberg RD1 KO/TKO
You can order the UFC 271 PPV on ESPN+ here to watch Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 and the entire fight card live this Saturday, January 12 in the United States.