In today’s climate, there’s a great deal to be said about fighters competing at a more comfortable weight a division or two heavier, but in the case of UFC Fight Night Copenhagen big winner Jared Cannonier, a drop in weight has proved nothing short of career altering. ‘The Killa Gorilla’ has improved to 3-0 at middleweight since his scurry from heavyweight, stopping David Branch, former division best Anderson Silva, and last night in enemy territory, steamrolled the surging Jack Hermansson.
The key to success for Cannonier as mentioned in my pre-fight Fighter Profile feature lay in the utilization of those punishing inside and outside calf kicks, a strategy which the Dallas native applied with great success inside the opening frame. Despite giving up his back on one occasion to Hermansson, Cannonier exploded back to his feet similarly to his escape against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace David Branch. Moments into the second round, a laboured, empty shot for a double leg was met with a check right uppercut from Cannonier. Stumbling back to the fence, Cannonier pounced with brutal ground-and-pound and after a detailed look at the action, referee Marc Goddard called a halt to proceedings. 185-pounds has a legitimate new threat.
Jack Hermansson vs. Jared Cannonier:
The fight that naturally springs next to mind for Jared Cannonier, is a clash with perennial contender and division mainstay, Yoel Romero. The Cuban narrowly found himself on the wrong end of a decision to #2 contender Paulo ‘The Eraser’ Costa last time out, as his title aspirations were once more dealt a significant blow. Cannonier will more than likely gazump Hermansson come the unveiling of the official rankings on Monday, which enters him into certain title contention. With Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya meeting in Melbourne next Saturday, the aforementioned Costa has a clear path to the title. Cannonier vs. Romero really books itself in my opinion in the mean time.
Romero’s wrestling could prove to be Cannonier’s kryptonite, granted we’ve seen both Hermansson and Branch momentarily out grapple the 35-year-old, but the Olympic silver medalist is an entirely different prospect. Romero is also an out-liar in terms of one-punch stopping power at middleweight, matched by only Brazil’s Costa and now maybe even Cannonier. I’d pay good money to see Romero vs. Cannonier in the opening quarter of 2020.
For Sweden’s Hermansson, a four fight win steak has been snapped and his train to the top of the middleweight pile has been derailed. A rematch with Jacare Souza makes zero sense considering the clear-cut way in which the Uddevalla native toppled the Brazilian and former division champion Chris Weidman has a light heavyweight debut against Dominick Reyes on the horizon at UFC Fight Night Boston in three weeks time. Derek Brunson on the other hand is quite the interesting match up. The #8 ranked contender holds decision wins over Elias Theodorou and the highly touted Ian Heinisch in his last two Octagon appearances, and a scalp against Hermansson would be one of the biggest of his professional career.