Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UFC 104 Preview: The Main Card - Anthony Johnson

October 21, 2009
Originally posted on
(Photo courtesy of

Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

The Breakdown: If you ever wanted to see polar opposites fight, this is the match for you. Johnson’s unrefined yet powerful striking resides in a different universe from the one in which Yoshida developed his textbook judo game. While most favor technique over talent, Yoshida has proven a somewhat undersized welterweight, and his striking remains a major weakness. Considering the ginormous reach and size advantage Johnson will hold, one has to wonder if Yoshida will even get within two feet of the American before he gets a face full of fist.

The X-Factor: Johnson is basically six feet, two inches of fast-twitch muscle fibers. Of course, having an NFL-level high jump will not get you out of a rear-naked choke, and the technical deficiencies in Johnson’s game have been his Achilles’ heel in the UFC. If Johnson finds scoring a quick knockout beyond his reach, he will have to stay mistake-free for however long this fight takes, as Yoshida only needs a few seconds to turn anyone into a human origami project.

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The Bottom Line: It will be a long time, if ever, before we see Johnson’s fight IQ catch up to the rest of his game, but after watching Yoshida get bullied around and plowed over by Josh Koscheck at UFC “Fight for the Troops,” this looks like a perfect fight for Johnson to flex his brawn over his brains. Watch for Johnson to back up Yoshida early with power shots. Once Yoshida starts backpedaling, Johnson has this fight locked up. Yoshida’s inability or unwillingness to force Johnson into a mistake will be his undoing.


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