In the second match of our main card, we are welcomed with a middleweight clash of the up and comers, as we see Brendan Allen (15-3) taking on the #15 ranked middleweight Ian Heinisch (14-3). Strap in, because we’re getting straight to it.
This 24-year-old is riding a 7 fight win streak, with three of those wins taking place in the UFC. Allen got his start in the MMA world when he started practicing jiu-jitsu at just 13. He’s a very skilled fighter, with good wrestling, a well above average submission game, and decent stand-up.
I wonder if he knew then; he would go on to become a 2 time LFA middleweight champion, with a 3 fight win streak in the world’s premier MMA organization (UFC). Originally from Beaufort, South Carolina; he was raised in Louisiana. Like any young fighter, he suffered some losses early in his career. However, the men he lost to (Trevor Giles, Eryk Anders, Anthony Hernandez) were no scrubs; as they would earn their way into the UFC as well.
Brenden Allen is primarily an aggressive grappler, with 8 victories by submissions. Historically, we’ve seen his rear-naked choke be a problem for his opponents; and 6 of his 8 submission victories come via this technique.
His RNC wins include a fight with Aaron Jeffrey, a fight that took place on Dana White’s Contender Series. Finishing the man in round 1 and securing a UFC contract, Brendan would have an impressive start to his UFC Career with another rear naked choke over fellow rising star Kevin Holland in round 2, of what was an extremely close back and forth war.
To follow up on his debut, Brendan Allen finished Tom Breese via TKO in round 1 at UFC Norfolk in February of 2020. Making the turn around in June, he would fight UFC newcomer Kyle Daukaus. Winning by decision in what was an intense, bloody, and grueling battle.
Skills and Style
While not overly impressive on the feet, Brendan Allen has moments like these that showcase his potential. Look at how smoothly he slips the Thai hooks in and delivers that knee, beautiful.
The main drawback of Brendan Allen’s standup is that his striking defense is just not all there yet. Statistically, he’s defending 35% of the strikes getting thrown his way; not good when facing a power puncher like Ian Heinisch.
Notice the volume of strikes that Allen gets touched with. Against the heaviest hitters of the 185 division, that’s not going to work out very well for him. What he lacks in defense, he makes up for with his smothering nonstop offense.
Sometimes Allen gets too aggressive. Watching tapes, I’ve noticed he jumps for guillotines almost every chance he gets, putting himself in dangerous positions on the ground. Against Kevin Holland, it was the leg lock he was trying to pull off that resulted in him taking a lot of damage; even getting cut badly.
The thing is, he’s so skilled on the floor that he oftentimes fights his way out of these tough spots he puts himself in; even capitalizing sometimes. The thing is, the more you rise through the ranks the less room there is for error. So hopefully we see a less bold version of Brendan Allen Saturday. One thing is for sure though, you don’t wanna be on the receiving end of ground and pound from this guy.
The devastating elbows and punches he delivers are a thing of beauty. His ground and pound and submissions are probably the most dangerous facet of his game. Nevertheless, at 24, this man’s got so much room to grow it’s insane. When his standup catches up to his grappling, these guys gonna be a serious contender.
Former 2 times Colorado state wrestling champ, 32-years-old “The Hurricane” Heinisch has had a turbulent past. Developing a problem with alcohol early on, he spiraled down a dark path. Arrested after selling a huge amount of pills, he fled to Amsterdam while out on bail. He ended up working in a bar in Spain and sleeping on the beach for three months.
Soon, Heinisch started drug trafficking from South America to Spain where on one of his trips he would be found in possession of cocaine. “The Hurricane” ended up in prison in the Canary Islands of Spain. Here, he taught MMA to his fellow prisoners. After being transferred to another prison on the mainland of Spain, he was set free after signing papers agreeing he wouldn’t return to Europe for 5 years.
Returning to America resulted in another arrest after immigration agents saw that he was a fugitive who skipped bail. Fortunately, Heinisch changed his life around after completing his sentence at Rikers Island and began pursuing an MMA career (Source).
DWCS and UFC Career
Amassing a 10-1 record by the time he made his debut on season 2, episode 7 of Dana White’s Contender Series, you could say Ian Heinisch was UFC ready. He won via KO in round 1 over Justin Sumter.
“The Hurricane” made his UFC debut In November of 2018 and beat Cezar Ferreira by unanimous decision. He’d go on to beat Antonio Carlos Junior by another UD before dropping 2 losses via the same method.
With that being said, those two opponents were Derek Brunson and Omari Akhmedov. Two of the elite at 185. Bouncing back from the two decision losses, Ian Heinisch would TKO Gerald Meerschaert and get back on the winning track.
Skills and Style
First, I’d like to say Ian Heinisch has a beautiful balance. This helps him a lot when he gets put in precarious positions; like defending a takedown, or a kick of his being caught.
See how Heinisch keeps his footing on the initial slam attempt? The man must have the balance of a ninja, cuz that’s pretty impressive. Then, of course, we see Brunson literally carry Ian for a second; almost seeming like he’s thinking “How do I get this guy down?”
“The Hurricane” definitely has great balance, but he’s also got some unorthodox moves he brings to the table. Check out this wacky somersault he does trying to get away from Antonio Carlos Junior.
The thing about Heinisch, is he’s not really great anywhere, but good everywhere if that makes sense. His power is probably the best part of his game, but his striking overall is average. Against Derek Brunson early, “The Hurricane” had some good moments on the feet, such as this kick that wobbled Derek big time.
As the fight grew long, not only was Ian Heinisch missing more, but getting hit more as well. Which makes me wonder who will be the first to tire Saturday night. Will Allen or Heinisch be the one to fade first? Regardless, Ian’s primarily a power puncher; who isn’t afraid to take a fight to the floor as well. Another key part to his game, is also his toughness and heart.
Using the Brunson fight as another source of evidence, we saw Heinisch almost finished several times that fight. Not only did he stick around to see a decision, but he was walking Brunson down towards the end of that last round; beating him up after taking an even worse beating himself earlier in the fight. Showing that there’s no quit to this man, who’s been thru so much in his life to get to where he is today.
Keys to Victory
For Brendan Allen, I think he wins this fight on the ground. Ian Heinisch is pretty tough to takedown as we’ve seen, so I think setting up his takedowns will be key. Or even chain wrestling to pursue a takedown. If that initial shot doesn’t work, I’d like to see Allen pursue it and really force “The Hurricane” to the canvas.
Head movement and striking defense in general will be important for this one especially. Against a power striker like Ian Heinisch, you can’t afford to be taking so much damage on the feet.
I’m hoping for Brendan to come out more conservative as well. He likes to try and jump on opportunities in fights, as we’ve discussed. Being over-eager can lead to over extending yourself and getting knocked out as well.
For “The Hurricane” i’d like to see him being the one controlling the action. If he’s exchanging first and third, he should be ok in this one. Meaning, striking first, and countering effectively. Brenden Allen is like all offense no defense. Force the guy to fight on his back foot (if you can) and you’re already putting him at a disadvantage.
Another key, keep it standing. Grappling is definitely Brendan’s specialty, and you don’t want to play into that at all. Defending the takedown, circling, cutting the cage will all be tools to help him stay out of Allen’s grasp, and away from those dangerous subs and ground strikes.
While a key for Brendan Allen was setting up his takedowns, I think a key for “The Hurricane” is setting up his power strikes. How can he do this? It’s all about the angles he takes, the footwork he uses, and the way he utilizes his jab or feints. If he’s calculated enough, he could take advantage of his opponents weakness and set traps for the man. Leading to a knockout, or TKO. We’ll see.
This one should be a hell of a fight! Brendan Allen’s gameplan is probably gonna be to smash “The Hurricane” on the ground, and Ian Heinisch will fight tooth and nail as we’ve seen; to avoid that.
For me, I’m really thinking Brendan Allen has got all the skills to pull this one off. He’s persistent on his takedowns, and pure danger when on top. Look for him to land some nasty ground and pound, and possibly get a TKO either early, or late in the fight. I’ve got him by TKO in rd. 3
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