In breaking down the DC Vs Rumble rematch, which takes place Saturday April 4th, in Buffalo, New York, I paid close attention to what both fighters have done since their first fight; a fight DC won via 3rd round submission (rear-naked choke). It should be a surprise to no one that both mixed martial artists have been undefeated since their first fight.
DC won an incredibly grueling 5-round decision against Alexander Gustafsson and a 3-round decision against Anderson Silva in a non-title bout; Silva took the fight on 48 hours notice after Jon Jones was scrapped from the fight for failing a drug test. Rumble, literally Rumbled his way back to a title shot by smashing Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeria.
In looking at these fights it told me a few things. First, both fighters are very good. It also told me that styles make fights. DC had all he can handle against Gustafsson, yet Rumble blew away Alexander in one round. Why? Because Gustafsson was tailor made for Rumble; big long target who lives on his feet.
Rumble has shown that he can overwhelm strikers, is not easy to take him down and is pretty formidable if he decides to take the fight to the ground (see the Manuwa fight).
The big problem for Rumble is, none of these advantages saw light against DC in the first fight. DC got rocked by Rumble, but recovered well. DC was also able to take Rumble to the ground and outclass and over anxious opponent.
Conventional thinking suggests that if Rumble cannot overwhelm DC with his power, which he failed to do in the first fight, his chances for winning this fight decreases immensely. We have seen nothing from Anthony Johnson in his recent fights that suggest he can win by overcoming adversity. This is not all his fault. Some of the best fighters the UFC has on their roster have crumbled after tasting Rumble’s power. The one man who did not crumble, DC, had his way with Rumble on the ground.
Is there a scenario where Rumble can win if he cannot put DC away early? Unlikely. With that said, I think DC could be going in the fight with the mindset that since he already beat Rumble, I already know how to. That can be a very risky thought process against a fighter like Rumble.
DC knows where he is better than Rumble, but that does not mean he can get there. Rumble should learn from his mistakes and realize he cannot over reach his hand against the recuperative powers of Cormier.
All of this means is we could see a fight that gets off to a much slower start than the first fight. Rumble should realize he must set his strikes up better and DC probably will not be comfortable taking the lead against Rumble. If this is how the fight plays out, I like Rumble to win inside of three rounds because a relaxed and calculated Rumble is the best version of him for this particular fight. If Rumble goes for the kill early, DC will be prepared to make it the biggest mistake of his career, and end it even earlier he did in the first fight.
A fighter with the ability to end of the fight on a dime, as Rumble has, will always dictate the pace of the fight. Can Rumble be disciplined enough to realize what he usually sets the table with is not the correct silverware for this meal? If yes, then we have a new champion.
Whichever way this fight plays out, the style and make up of Rumble Johnson makes this fight impossible to go more than three rounds. That is the only prediction I have full confidence in.
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