UFC 271: William Knight vs Maxim Grishin - Prediction - 02/12/22
William Knight vs Maxim Grishin
William Knight (11-2) TKO’d his first four opponents of his career which helped give him a shot on The Contender Series. He made it 5 TKO’s in a row but it still wasn’t quite enough to gain a UFC contract. He did however receive a development league contract for his efforts. He’d win 2 of his next 3 fights under development on the regionals, which would get him yet another Contender Series fight, this time against Cody Brundage. Once more, he would score a TKO win and finally receive the real UFC contract. “Knightmare” would win 2 of his first 3 UFC fights (the one defeat coming from Da Un Jung). He’d get his toughest test to date recently by taking on Alonzo Menifield in December. Despite winning the fight with a unanimous 29-28 score, all media outlets scored the fight in Menifield’s favor. Knight did come close to finishing the fight but was controlled for large stretches against the cage with little resistance. Nevertheless, Knight got the W and he looks to start off 2022 by knocking out Maxim Grishin.
Veteran kickboxer, Maxim Grishin (31-9-2) started his career off by fighting in M-1 Global series for a few years (2009) before bouncing around to a pile of other Russian regional circuits. He then made the jump to PFL in 2018 where he went 4-0-2. “Maximus” would finally get to the world’s biggest MMA stage in 2020 where he debuted at heavyweight. Marcin Tybura would largely control the fight with grappling and spoil the Russian’s debut. He managed to TKO Gadzhimurad Antigulov in his sophomore effort and first UFC fight in the light heavyweight division. But that success would not last as Dustin Jacoby would take a very close unanimous decision from the 37 year old. About half of the MMA media outlets scored it in favor of Grishin as it was a close one with both guys having great moments. It certainly didn’t feel like the robbery Menifield suffered.
Grishin will enjoy 5 inches of height and reach advantage over the American.
How They Match Up
I’m going to side with technique over power here. Knight has never really impressed me even in victory while Grishin has far too much experience to make the kind of mistakes Knight has capitalized on in the past.
Admittedly, Knight could lock up and lean on Grishin against the cage and make this a horrible slog of a fight. And if that happens, his chances go way up. He’ll have to lean on some grappling to get this to the mat. And even though Tybura had some success taking Grishin down, there were plenty of attempts stuffed. In his next outing, Grishin’s takedown defense looked even better against Antigulov. Knight doesn’t generally relentlessly press for takedowns either so the attrition route shouldn’t be available.
Nevertheless, Knight is a bricked up monster of a light heavyweight and if he connects with one of his wild hooks, it’s over. Those opportunities seem to present themselves when his opponent clinches up with him however and Grishin is more of a tactician who will keep this at range. The likelihood of getting caught like that seems low. I’ll take “Maximov” to put on a striking clinic on route to a wide decision.