UFC on ESPN 35: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Krzysztof Jotko prediction, betting odds, preview 1

Gerald Meerschaert (34-14; 9-6 in the UFC) is set to fight Krzysztof Jotko (23-5; 10-5 in the UFC) come Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 35.

Meerschaert, perhaps surprising to some, is riding an impressive three-fight win-streak into this matchup. Meanwhile, Jotko is 4-1 in his last five fights, with his lone loss over that span stemming from the highly touted and number 5 ranked middleweight, Sean Strickland. Both Meerschaert and Jotko are battle-tested veterans who are set up perfectly to secure a ranked opponent with a win over the other. The high-stakes parlayed with an inherent chess match when two veterans of the organization face one another creates a recipe for a highly entertaining and underrated matchup!

Betting Odds

Krzysztof Jotko, having once been a highly ranked fighter, is a relatively mundane -170 favorite over the somewhat surging, Gerald Meerschaert.

  • Meerschaert: +150
  • Jotko: -170


Jotko is a technical striker who relies on quickness and accuracy contrary to power. The benefits associated with electing this style of striking is having the capability to bounce in and out of range while avoiding significant damage resulting from overextending punches and missing the target. Continually, the technical, quick footwork, enables a variety of striking attacks ranging from kicks to straight punches. For Jotko specifically, he does a good job landing body kicks from the southpaw position in addition to landing a straight left hand followed by a right body shot, where he then pivots at an angle to avoid a damaging counterattack. The final benefit of this style, and one that is somewhat under-the-radar for Jotko, is the ability to circle away from takedowns. This ability, coupled with him being a smart veteran understanding of cage positioning, results in him having solid takedown defense, especially for being a non-grappler himself.

Although the benefits of electing to implement this style contrary to focusing on power and damage are sizable, the main consequence is the lack of power-threat allows the opponent to implement their own offensive game without fear of wearing a significant counterstrike. This consequence has resulted in Jotko being finished in the later rounds of fights – when footwork and quickness innately depletes – and/or losing fights by close decision.

Where Jotko uses sound techniques on the feet to negate threats, Meerschaert uses elite ground techniques to finish fights. Of his 34 wins, an impressive 26 have come via submission – a majority by a Rear-Naked Choke, but several others by differing tactics which illustrates an onslaught of skills to finish the fight on the mat. The historical track record of finishing fights via a large arsenal of submission attacks results in the conclusion that if it gets to the mat, Meerschaert has the knowledge and skills necessary to finish the fight once there.

The issue, and rationale with him being a near win-one, lose-one type of fighter, is the striking of Meerschaert is far from elite. Standing from a predominate south-paw position, Meerschaert has had trouble defending against the straight righthand – most notably Chimaev landing a one-punch KO. Beyond this singular issue, he struggles with finding success on the feet from an offensive end, both in terms of landing in combination along with landing with power. This lackluster striking correlates to him finding trouble, at times, securing a takedown. So, in this matchup facing a movement striker in Jotko, Meerschaert will need to show improvement in cutting angles and landing with some force on the feet to best set up his offensive wrestling. If done successfully, he has the attributes necessary to finish the fight once on the mat.


The elementary analysis of this fight is as follows: if the fight stays standing, Jotko will win, and if the fight hits the mat, Meerschaert will win. Diving a bit deeper, Jotko will need to show the ability to utilize his footwork throughout the entire duration of the fight, thus best mitigating the offensive grappling of Meerschaert. Meanwhile, Meerschaert will need to show the ability to cut off the cage and land strikes to open up his wrestling. Ultimately, I am far more inclined to back Jotko’s ability to implement a defensive movement for the entirety of the fight contrary to Meerschaert having success in cutting angles and landing damaging blows. The reasoning for this trust is him having done so against more aggressive strikers, and knowing Meerschaert is subpar on the feet, Jotko will be able to continually plan for defending takedowns compared to worrying about defending offensive strikes. This plan, in conjuncture with his displayed ability to keep the fight off the mat, should result in him having success combating the takedowns which are directly correlated to him securing a win.

Bet: Jotko

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