This middleweight bout will be an exciting clash between two well-rounded, experienced and, thus far in their careers, largely successful fighters. Ian Heinisch comes into this fight following a bounce-back first round knockout victory over Gerald Meerschaert. Heinisch had lost two straight prior, first to Derek Brunson and then to Omari Akhmedov, both by unanimous decision. He is now 3-2 in the UFC, the Meerschaert knockout was his first in the octagon, the seventh finish of his professional career, and the fifth knockout.
Brendan Allen is one of the most exciting prospects in the middleweight division. With 17 fights, five knockouts, eight submissions, three UFC wins, two UFC finishes and a seven-fight win streak all under his belt at just 24 years of age, the ceiling on Allen’s career is extremely high. This fight is a pick em at most windows, however some books are offering Allen as a -115 favorite with Heinisch coming back at -105.
Allen is primarily a grappler, always looking to get fights to the ground early. He usually looks to take opponents backs, but he takes whatever they’ll give him, and can lock in advanced holds from a number of different positions. He has extremely smooth transitions and scrambles very effectively. He has nasty arm-in triangles, transitions smoothly into armbars and is more than comfortable fighting from his back.
Allen has some pretty good ground striking ability, but is mostly using it to soften his opponents up for submissions, though he does have five knockouts, all resulting from ground strikes. When his submissions aren’t there, he goes to work with elbows and hooks from top mount, side control, half guard, and position he can get on top and get his hands free.
Allen hasn’t been forced to spend much time on his feet but, in the standing exchanges he has had, he’s shown a lot of power and athleticism. All Allen really has to do standing is land a few shots to set up a takedown, and he has been able to hold his own for as long as he has needed to, but he has spent a collective ~2:30 standing in the UFC octagon by our own unofficial clock.
Ian Heinisch will likely look to keep this fight standing, where he would have a significant advantage. He’s a powerful and disciplined striker with great footwork and a serious right overhand. He moves around a lot and actively feints and moves his head. He’s tough to predict, throws a lot of kicks to the legs and body, but is mostly dangerous as a counter-striker. He keeps his distance with his kicks, and tries to get his opponents to press forward into his hooks and overhands.
Because of the bait and switch style he fights, Heinisch doesn’t throw or land a lot of strikes. His power punches are always a threat, but there may not be much keeping Allen from shooting in on Heinisch’s legs. His takedown defense hasn’t held up against his recent opponents, and he’s given his back with way too much ease for us to feel comfortable putting financial confidence in him against a black belt with eight submission victories.
If Heinisch goes after Allen, he’s going to get taken down. If he sits back and waits for Allen, he’s going to trade a few hooks and then get taken down. Once they’re on the ground, Heinisch is going to be controlled, and Allen’s going to start looking for limbs to bend. If the submission doesn’t present itself, Allen’s going to start raining elbows.
It’s surprising to see this line move to a pick em on most books, we’re extremely confident in Allen to get the victory and will gladly take him at -115. The obvious grappling advantage is just too much for Heinisch to overcome, and this could very well be an early submission.