UFC on ESPN 2: Jack Hermansson and David Branch Meet in a Dangerous Co-Main Event

Mar 29, 2019 08:00 AM EDT

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jack Hermansson (left) and David Branch (right).

UFC on ESPN 2 betting odds: Jack Hermansson vs. David Branch

  • Jack Hermansson -125
  • David Branch +100
  • Fight Time: Approx. 9:00 p.m. EST
  • Channel: ESPN+

Like the last few events preceding it, the UFC’s sophomore effort on ESPN is banking less on star power and more on the potential excitement of its matchups. Of the six main card bouts, oddsmakers expect four to end inside the distance.

One of those bouts is the middleweight co-main event between Jack “Joker” Hermansson (18-4) and David Branch (22-5).

Based out of Frontline Academy in Oslo, Norway, Jack Hermansson is on a two-fight winning streak and is 5-2 overall in UFC.

After a sojourn in WSOF from 2012-2016, David Branch returned to the UFC and is 2-2 in his current stint with the promotion.

These men are riding opposite waves of momentum heading into Saturday night. Hermansson is looking to continue his winning ways in his highest-profile fight yet. Branch is looking to right the ship in what has been a relatively disappointing comeback to the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion.

How Hermansson can win

Hermansson entered the UFC among a wave of European middleweight brawlers that were promising if indistinguishable. In his debut, Hermansson bested one of those fellow brawlers in Scott Askham. However, in his second outing in the UFC Hermansson was quickly taken down and submitted by Cezar Ferreira.

Since then, Hermansson has separated himself from the pack as a confident striker with a dangerous top game.

On the feet, Hermansson’s key to success is volume and pressure. He gets after his opponent from the opening bell and is constantly throwing from every position.

  • Hermansson throws 8.79 significant strikes per minute.
  • Hermansson lands 4.92 sig. strikes per minute.
  • Hermansson’s possesses a +3.15 sig. strikes differential.

The key differentiator in Hermansson’s fights – especially during his 4-1 winning streak – has been dominance from top position.

Since his loss to Cezar Ferreira in 2016:

  • Hermansson has secured at least one takedown in 100% (4/4) of his wins.
  • Hermansson averages 3.5 passes/fight in his four wins.
  • Hermansson has finished 100% (4/4) of his wins.

Against Branch, “Joker” needs to focus on activity. Branch is a low-paced (1.67 sig. strikes per minute) and typically out-gunned (-0.22 sig. strike differential) striker. If Hermansson can throw at his usual pace, the numbers indicate he’ll out-land David Branch by 3.37 sig. strikers per minute.

The key to this will be avoiding the fence. Branch likes to keep his opponents against the fence and Hermansson needs to ensure he has room to throw his typical striking volume.

It will also be a boon for Hermansson if he can get his top game going. Hermansson has been able to consistently submit and knock out opponents from top position. The lone time we’ve seen Branch get taken down by a fighter with a powerful top game, Branch was forced to tap to punches against Luke Rockhold.

If Hermansson can get top position on Branch, there’s a very good chance he’ll be able to control Branch and finish him with strikers.

How Branch can win

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