A fight’s a fight, and even the best fighter can lose on a given night. That being said, sometimes the path to coming out on top isn’t very clear. Welcome to Keys to Victory, the semi-regular feature where underdogs are shown what they need to do to win. In this edition, Ovince St Preux and Henry Cejudo get some guidance on how to leave UFC 197 with some extra gold around their waists.
Wrestle, Henry, Wrestle: It’s hard to recall since it has been years, but Mighty Mouse really only struggled against super high level wrestlers. On paper, Cejudo is the best wrestler in the division, and he shouldn’t try to kickbox with DJ, since that guy is basically the fastest man on the planet. If Cejudo can land take downs consistently, that leads directly to the next key.
Slow it Down: I don’t see a scenario where Cejudo stops DJ, either with strikes or submissions. Johnson also has insane conditioning, so he’s going to be dangerous for the entire fight. Cejudo has had some problems with his cardio in the past, so he’s got to take a marathon approach. If he expends too much energy in trying to wrestle Johnson, chasing him down, or going too crazy with ground and pound, it’s likely Cejudo will get tuckered out and DJ would get the opportunity to break free and go on the offensive.
Ovince St. Preux
Fight Long: Jones does have the longest reach of anyone at light heavyweight, but his best striking comes at much closer ranges. His clinch work is devastating, so OSP should try to keep Jones at the end of his punches. OSP has a good wingspan, so if he doesn’t get pulled into a brawl with Jones, there’s a chance he could land a straight with a lot of power behind it, or at least catch Jones rushing in a bit.
Keep it Standing: Ovince has struggled against wrestlers, and even guys who aren’t wrestlers, but have decent take downs, like Glover Texeira. If he wants to win this fight, he’ll need to be ready to flee from any potential take down attempt from Jones. Jon’s also got good clinch trips and throws, so that ties into fighting at range.
Brief note: Of the three fighters I’ve covered so far in ‘Keys to Victory,’ all of them have won – more or less – with the game plan I’ve laid out. It should be noted, however, that I haven’t actually picked any of them to win in the Uproxx Sports Staff Predictions.