UFC 145: The Keys to Victory for Brendan Schaub
The popular pick (through my own observations) has been Schaub, and with good reason. Rothwell has looked like a shell of his former self since joining the UFC and looked sluggish even in his only UFC win.
Meanwhile, Schaub made a splash with his introduction to UFC fans by competing on The Ultimate Fighter, where The Grudge Training Center product made it all the way to the finals before being KO’d by Roy Nelson.
As with any fight, there are certain strategies each fighter must follow on the path to victory. If Schaub wishes for his hand to be raised in Atlanta, completing these tasks will be paramount.
Key #1: Athleticism
Schaub is a former professional football player and has displayed great athleticism for a heavyweight thus far in his MMA career.
Using his superior athleticism will be a major focal point for Schaub. By using proper footwork, Schaub will be able to run circles around the sluggish, lumbering Rothwell.
Schaub will likely find himself trapped near the cage walls at least once during this battle, but he should be able to circle out to avoid taking damage.
Key #2: Speed Kills
Keeping with the athleticism point, Schaub must use his superior speed to his advantage as well.
Obviously, in terms of striking, that will mean Schaub needs to use quick strikes and footwork to evade Rothwell’s strikes. But this also translates into takedowns as well.
Schaub isn’t really known as a dominant wrestler, but he has a solid jiu-jitsu background and may look to take the fight to the mat. By using fast takedowns, as opposed to attempting to overpower the bigger Rothwell, Schaub can get a takedown with ease.
Key #3: Protect and Serve Out Punishment
Schaub has only lost twice inside the Octagon. Both of those losses were due to KO.
Against Roy Nelson, Schaub simply got caught by a huge right hand, something a lot of folks have found themselves victims of against Nelson. In his battle with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Schaub was actually doing fairly well until he was caught on the chin by the Brazilian.
Rothwell was known for his ability to string together combinations fairly well for a guy his size, but since joining the UFC, he seems more content to land power shots. Rothwell is going to have a size advantage, and any punch from a guy his size is going to do a lot of damage.
Avoiding Rothwell’s power strikes while working fast combinations will be key for Schaub while the fight is on the feet.
Key #4: Stay Standing
Another area Schaub wants to avoid is being on his back. While the Colorado native has a good jiu-jitsu background and can no doubt threaten with submissions or sweeps, having a 263-pound man on top of you is no picnic.
Rothwell was able to take down Gilbert Yvel in their fight and threatened the kickboxer with submissions along with ground strikes. However, Yvel was able to reverse Rothwell and end up on top himself.
Schaub may look to do the same if he finds himself on his back, but the best path to victory for Schaub lies in his quickness and striking ability, both of which are negated with Schaub’s back to the mat.