Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight up-and-comers Oskar Piechota and Jonathan Wilson will throw down this Saturday (Oct. 21, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 118 inside Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland.
In the opening fight of Fight Pass’ main card, Piechota will fill the role of local favorite. Luckily, the Gdansk-native is also a talented prospect, unbeaten in 10 fights with nine finishes under his belt. On the other hand, Wilson took an odd route to the Octagon. He dominated mediocre competition through six fights, which was enough to get him picked up by UFC. He did win his first bout but has since come up short twice.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jason Radcliffe (Cage Warriors 85), Nikos Sokolis (Spartan Fight 6)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: At 27 years old, Piechota is an excellent prospect. An Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) veteran with wins over guys like Vinny Magalhaes and Claudio Calasans, it’s obvious that Piechota is a quality grappler. In his last two fights, however, Piechota has scored a pair of knockouts in a combined 68 seconds.
Improved striking or no, Piechota’s strategy should be pretty clear here. Wilson has six knockouts on his record and proven power, whereas his grappling has looked decidedly average. In both of his losses, Wilson found himself on the bottom eating shots more often than he’d like.
Piechota has the kickboxing to handle himself until he gets in on a shot, but that should be it. There’s no point in testing those waters — it’s in his best interest to move in, score a takedown and land an early tapout in front of his home crowd.
Key Wins: Chris Dempsey (UFC Fight Night 73)
Key Losses: Ion Cutelaba (UFC Fight Night 96), Henrique da Silva (UFC 199)
Keys to Victory: Wilson is a bruiser. He was athletic and strong at 205 pounds, which means that he’ll be especially dangerous if able to make a healthy drop down to Middleweight.
Following along with the above section, Wilson’s ideal fight is clear as well. Opposite the grappling ace, Wilson will be looking to stuff takedowns and sling heavy leather. That’s his usual game plan — plus or minus the occasional takedown of his own — and it’s generally worked well.
That style generally works best for fighters with a physical advantage. Opposite Cutelaba and da Silva, Wilson was unable to force his will, and his attempts to caused him to fatigue. A size advantage might allow him to remain dangerous deeper into the fight and shuck off takedown more easily, two factors that would really help his game.
Bottom Line: It’s a fight for the Polish fans, but it’s also a good chance to watch Piechota perform.
At the moment, the Pole looks like a quality prospect with a high ceiling. That said, the European regional scene can be deceiving — it’s made mediocre fighters look special in the past. Wilson is not a world-beater, but he’s athletic and dangerous enough to be a good first test opposite “Imadlo.”
If Piechota is victorious, he’s ready for UFC-level competition and can begin his climb at 185 pounds. If not, he’ll receive another chance, but it doesn’t say great things about his chances to become a contender without some development.
As for Wilson, this is likely a do-or-die fight for him, which is rough considering the circumstances: fighting a top prospect in his home country. Nevertheless, losing three straight isn’t quite the death sentence it once was, but Wilson doesn’t have a long UFC career built up to keep him safe either. Alternatively, a win would grant him a fresh start. A knockout win over a prospect in a new division? That’s a new chance to go on a run and work his way up the division, and a win also evens up his UFC record.
At UFC Fight Night 118, Oskar Piechota and Jonathan Wilson will open the main card with a scrap. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?