UFC Fight Night 33 Prediction: Krzysztof Jotko vs. Bruno Santos
December 3, 2013
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This fight is a clash between debuting middleweights with identical 13-0 records as Krzysztof Jotko will take on Bruno Santos. It’s an interesting matchup because of the contrast between the two fighters. Jotko is somewhat lanky while Santos is short and stocky. Jotko tends to be aggressive while Santos is cautious. After watching the tape I’m left without a strong opinion on who will be the winner.
Jotko is an aggressive but flawed striker. Watching Jotko on tape, it became immediately apparent that he has a lot of unnecessary movement with his hands and feet. When he’s at standing distance his hands are moving all over the place and he’s constantly circling. This jittery movement hasn’t led to particularly strong striking defense; Jotko went through a few periods of being hit repeatedly by his opponent in the fights I watched.
With that said I think Jotko should be the better striker than Santos. He’s fairly aggressive with his boxing offense while Santos tends to stay very cautious. Santos has a hard leg kick but has very unrefined boxing. Generally Santos will throw hard, looping hooks but doesn’t set them up or throw a diversity of strikes. With Jotko’s height and reach advantage over the 5’7″ Santos I anticipate he would score more points in a striking contest.
At the same time, Santos is a tank of a man and could impose his will on Jotko with some thumping takedowns. I feel like if Santos had technical wrestling he would be able to do this with ease but it appears he relies on his brute strength more than anything. It’s unclear if that will be enough to take Jotko down because I didn’t see much of Jotko’s takedown defense on tape.
My gut instinct is to favor Santos based on what I anticipate will be an advantage in the takedown game, paired with strikes threatening enough to keep Jotko honest on the feet. However, I’m hesitant to make that my pick for a few reasons. One is that Santos has only won one fight by TKO and one by submission. In 11 other fights Santos won by decision, which indicates that his knockout power probably isn’t as good as it appears it should be. Another reason is simple: what if Jotko surprises me with his takedown defense? If Jotko can stuff the takedowns of Santos then I think he would have a clear path to victory by “sprawl and brawl” tactics.
What makes me a little more confident that Santos should be favored is the quality of his record. It’s true that Santos has gone to decision often but most of his opponents have been quality opponents with a winning record. His last fight was a Bellator win against previously 17-1 Giva Santana. He’s also defeated opponents like Daniel Acacio, Michele Verginelli, and Edilberto de Oliveira. None of those are names most MMA fans will recognize but they’re all opponents who have competed at a fairly high level.
I believe Santos will likely be able to take Jotko to the ground and grind out a decision victory but it’s not an outcome I’m confident in. If Santos is either unable or unwilling to take Jotko to the ground then I have to favor Jotko. Ultimately it’s a tricky fight to call but I will slightly favor Santos in this one.
Pick: Bruno Santos by decision