Glover vs Jiri
This fight is so very intriguing to me on so many levels. It truly encompasses a matchup or different styles, different philosophies, and different eras. In many ways it is old lion vs young lion, but there is so much more than just that cliche statement to unpack here. While Glover has taken a path of consistency and patience to grab the top of the pinnacle capturing UFC gold at 42 years of age, it hasn’t always been an easy road for Glover. Not many fighters have hovered in rarified air for as long as he has while coming up just a tad short in multiple very large fights and most notable when he lost to Jon Jones on his first attempt for the strap. After that loss, Glover seemed like he was either declining a bit or the new age was surpassing him a bit. He was on a rotating door of wins and losses for a bit, and although a very tough out for anyone, Glover just didn’t seem like he was going to climb back high enough to string enough together to make a very serious run. He wasn’t forgotten, but he also wasn’t considered to be a major threat at that point. Then something clicked. Glover went on a 5 fight win streak against very tough and young opposition, aligning him for a shot at the strap against Jan. Glover would win by submission in round #2 and fulfill a very long goal that lasted over a decade to achieve. With an overall record of 33-7, he has 18 wins by KO and 10 by submission. Glovers style is extremely traditional and fundamentally sound in all areas. His striking is extremely traditional with a high focus on boxing philosophies and his grappling is simple and to the point. A 5th degree black belt in Kajukenbo which is a hybrid-Martial art that stems from Hawaii. He was under the watchful eye of John Hackleman from “The Pit”, who is widely regarded due to his work with former champion Chuck Liddell. He is also a 2nd degree black belt in BJJ which for my money at this stage of the game is his strongest suit. They old saying says, “you aren’t the champion until you’ve defended the belt at least one time.” I am a firm believer in that statement as well, so this is a very big fight for Glover in that aspect as well as many others. He will look to do that against a young fighter that exploded onto the scene, earning a title shot in just his 3rd under the UFC Umbrella.  Jiri is a very interesting character. In many ways, from a mental perspective, he reminds me of a much more grounded, realistic,and centered Diego Sanchez. While Diego shared many of the same philosophies with meditation and such, Jiri seems much more stable minded and understands how to channel these philosophies more economically in the cage. Even though Jiri has only been under the umbrella for a short time, he’s been around for awhile. With an overall record of 28-4 record, he has 25 KOS and 2 submissions to his credit. In his 3 losses, he has been KOD 2 times and submitted 1 time. His last loss was against King Mo in the Rizan GP back in 2015. There is no doubt that Jiri is a special talent and carries an aura about him that is hard not to like and respect. Much like Glover, he respects the sport and he also respects all of his opposition, but when he steps into the cage, hurt becomes him. He delivers diversity in numbers in a violent way. Creative patterns that are unexpected, extremely cerebral, and very reactive. However, one must ask themselves if this is a big jump into the deep for him only being in his 3rd fight under the umbrella. We know he is a dynamic striker, but in his 2 fights here, I have seen him put on serious skates once. Against Reyes he was caught by a very stabbing shot that put him on bad legs and Reyes was so battered at that point that the reaction time was way too late and Jiri survived to get his legs back under him. It was an experience on Reyes’ end that he didn’t follow the dripping blood and finish his meal. Now, I say experience. Glover would have taken him down, took his back, flattened him out, and took his neck home with him. The experience factor plays a heavy role and every second matters. A split second on your reaction time can make or break you in a fight. Reyes doesn’t have that yet. When you break this fight down you need to really lean on what you value more. Do you value the young dynamic lion or do you value the Savvy vet that has been in there with every style and every elite fighter in his division time after time.  This fight is so hard to pick a side of I’m being honest. I can make valid arguments on both sides on why they should win and why they should lose. However, I really have no questions about Glover. I have seen him in every situation at the highest level, either winning or losing. I feel like we know the ceiling of Glover. We know what he’s about and we know all of his pros and cons. We know he has extremely underrated striking and heavy hands. We know he is one of the best grapplers in the division. We also know that he does tend to expose his chin and that sometimes he will entertain a fire fight. So we basically know the risks and rewards here. As far as Jiri, do we? We know he is a great striker with heavy hands. It’s proven. But do we know if he can even hang with Glover at all if this hits the Mat? No. Do we really know how good his chin actually is? No. All I do know is that he has been Knocked out before and he was rocked by Reyes but never received any follow up to see where and if he has a breaking point. Have we seen him down in a fight and adjusting intelligently or will he fight emotionally? We don’t really know these things. So, for me I feel like if I pick him here it’s in the hopes of seeing what I “Hope” he becomes and not what he really is. I know what I’m getting from Glover, and even though I know his chin is going to be there to be had if he doesn’t grapple. With that said, I’m going with the fighter we all know his fibers over the guy that we all hope for him to be. He’s getting the neck. I’ll take the experience here. And still…
The Pick Glover by submission

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