This Saturday we return to the Apex for UFC Vegas 25 headlined by light heavyweights Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka. A middleweight bout between Krzysztof Jotko vs Sean Strickland is one to watch on the card with both fighters impressing in their last three fights.
The rest of the card is filled with exciting bouts including Georgian prospect Giga Chikadze who faces UFC veteran Cub Swanson in the co-main event at featherweight. Light heavyweights Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby battle it out, whilst Merab Dvalishvili faces Cody Stamann. Poliana Botelho and Luana Carolina make up the main card. Krzysztof Jotko vs Sean Strickland is one of two middleweight fights on the card, with Andreas Michailidis vs KB Bhullar opening the event.
Krzysztof Jotko vs Sean Strickland: Meet the Middleweights
Krzysztof Jotko (22-4, 9-4 UFC) will be on the hunt for a ranked position when he faces 15th ranked Strickland in the middleweight division on Saturday night. Jotko will be looking for his fourth win in a row in the UFC, which actually isn’t even his longest streak in the promotion.
Jotko started his professional career back in 2010, fighting in his home country of Poland. He was victorious via unanimous decision in his first two fights, only competing in two five-minute rounds. Jotko’s next three fights came in one night at ZSSC: Martial Arts Night 4. He was the winner in all three, knocking out two of his opponents.
21 years old at the time and Jotko was looking seriously impressive. He fought three more times in 2011, meaning he’d fought six times in the space of three and a half months. He was looking unbeatable, coming away with three more wins and two more knockouts and Poland had a serious prospect on their hands as Jotko improved his record to 8-0.
There was no stopping Jotko in Europe, as he won five more fights and earned a Fight of the Night performance bonus against Bojan Velickovic. This would see him offered a UFC contract in 2013. He went into the promotion as an undefeated fighter with a record of 13-0. His first matchup was at Fight Night 33 against Bruno Santos, who also had 13 wins and no losses to his name. Jotko impressed all three judges, winning on a unanimous decision to give him a victory on his promotional debut.
In his second bout in the promotion, Jotko was handed his first career loss at the hands of Magnus Cedenblad. In the second round at UFC Fight Night 41, Cedenblad submitted him with a guillotine choke, with just one second left in the round. Jotko bounced back with three decision victories in his next three bouts against the likes of Tor Troeng, Scott Askham, and Bradley Scott
Finally, in his sixth bout, he earned his first knockout in the promotion, alongside his first Performance of the Night bonus. A stunning left-hook dropped Tamdan McCrory and Jotko finished him off with ground strikes. He stepped in the octagon again five months later to earn himself a five-fight win streak in the promotion with a unanimous decision victory over Thales Leites.
World Series of Fighting two-weight champion David Branch returned to the UFC and fought Jotko at UFC 211. After a back and forth three rounds, two judges awarded the fight to Branch, meaning he was the winner on a split decision. A fantastic five-fight winning streak from Jotko was ended, and it started his worst spell of his career.
Uriah Hall was the next person to beat Jotko, with Hall finishing the fight in the second round after a beautiful right-hook knocked Jotko down, and Hall finished with the ground and pound. This was the first time ever Jotko was knocked out in his professional career, in his 22nd bout. It got worse for Jotko in his first fight in 2018, being knocked out for a second time in successive fights against Brad Tavares. This led to Jotko’s contract being in danger after a three-fight skid.
A year on since his loss against Tavares, and Jotko was desperate to get back to winning ways against Alen Amedovski. A domination on the ground seen him win unanimously after three rounds with one judge even scoring the bout 30-25. Two more wins for Jotko showed he deserved to be fighting in this promotion and his last two decision victories over Marc-Andre Barriault and Eryk Anders has set him with a tasty matchup against Strickland.
Sean “Tarzan” Strickland (22-3, 9-3 UFC) is in a similar position to his opponent with a three-fight win-streak but he holds the power of the final ranked position in the middleweight division.
Strickland started his professional career at the age of 17, fighting in the American promotion King of the Cage. After six fights in the promotion in three years, he was undefeated, finishing all six opponents with three TKO/KO’s and three submissions. He was 7-0 in his first seven fights, he fought once outside of KOTC, which he won on a unanimous decision.
In December 2011, Strickland faced Brandon Hunt for the KOTC Middleweight Championship. He knocked out Hunt inside the first round to become a champion at the age of 20. Four months later, he re-matched Hunt but it was the same outcome, only 24 seconds earlier.
Four defences later and still an undefeated record of 13-0, Strickland made his UFC debut in 2014. At UFC 171, Strickland came away with one of the two submissions that happened on the card. If it wasn’t for Ovince St Preux’s von flue choke over Nikita Krylov, Strickland’s rear-naked choke over Bubba McDaniel may have landed him a bonus on his promotional debut.
The American made it two wins out of two, with a split decision victory over Luke Barnatt before testing the waters and moving down a division to welterweight for the first time in his career against Santiago Ponzinibbio. After a back and forth affair, Strickland lost the fight on a unanimous decision, seeing him lose the zero on his record after 16 fights.
Strickland stuck the welterweight division and bounced back with a unanimous decision victory over Igor Araujo, five months after he first tasted defeat. It was two more wins for Strickland including a hammering in the latter moments of the fight against Alex Garcia which seen Strickland knock him out with 35 seconds left on the clock. A split decision victory over Tom Breese, seen Strickland face current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, two years before he won his title.
Usman showed his dominance and Strickland couldn’t handle the wrath of Kamaru, who was victorious by unanimous decision. Something extremely strange happened in Strickland’s next bout against Court McGee. The bout was announced as a majority draw, which seemed weird after a stronger performance from Strickland. The result was later overturned due to a miscalculation in the scores.
One of the greatest spinning wheel kick we’ve feasted our eyes on came at UFC 224, and Strickland was on the end of it. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos caught Strickland with the kick to the head, which led to him pouncing on Strickland and finishing him with punches to hand him his third defeat in his career. Somehow dos Santos didn’t win a bonus that night.
He was back in action against Nordine Taleb five months later, and was victorious via technical knock out in the second round, which was the last fight on his contract and Strickland entered free agency in 2018. A serious motorcycle injury kept Strickland out of the game for a long time, after a van pulled out in front him when he was riding at a pace of 45mph. He had serious damage to his knee, but refused to retire with his injuries.
Two years on, in October 2020, Strickland returned to the UFC to face Jack Marshman. He also stepped back up to middleweight and was dominant in the three rounds, winning on a unanimous decision. Back at UFC Vegas 14, in his last fought bout, he faced a tough challenge in Brendan Allen. We know how good Allen is on the ground, Strickland prevented that. He caught him with some powerful jabs which Allen couldn’t handle. The performance earned Strickland a 50k bonus at the end of the night, his first in his UFC career.
Krzysztof Jotko vs Sean Strickland: Breakdown and Prediction
Well, realistically we couldn’t get a closer matched fight if we tried with Krzysztof Jotko vs Sean Strickland. The records are close, with the same wins, but Jotko has one more defeat. Both fighters are on a three-fight win-streak, they’re both the same height and Jotko is one year older than Strickland. It’s without a doubt the best possible match-up for the pair.
For Jotko, he’s a distance fighter and I’m sure he’ll be training for that. he’s won 15 of his 22 fights on a decision. The aim will be too try and outstrike Strickland and on the occasion push for the takedown, but it’s going to be a tough task with Strickland being a strong individual.
Strickland has four submissions and 10 TKO/KO’s to his record. Since joining the UFC, he only has one submission though and in the majority of his fights he’s looked to stay on the feet. With these two being close on the feet, Strickland could feel he’d have the edge on Jotko on the ground and look to perform some takedowns.
It’s tough to say what the plan of action is for these guys, because they could simply change it up throughout the fight. Strickland is preferably the stronger fighter on the feet, and that’s how I see this outcome ending. With an impressive knockout over Allen, I can see similar endings in this matchup. It could easily go to decision, but Strickland will be looking for that knockout, so he can force a charge on the middleweight division.
Krzysztof Jotko vs Sean Strickland prediction: Sean Strickland second-round KO.
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