The Film Room: Jack Hermansson

By Kevin Wilson Apr 23, 2019
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Jack Hermansson will return to the Octagon less than a month after his “Performance of the Night”-winning submission of David Branch, as he takes on Ronaldo Souza in the UFC Fight Night 150 main event on Saturday in Sunrise, Florida. “The Joker” has long been one of the most underrated competitors in the middleweight division, and now, he finally gets the chance to headline his first card and prove himself as a legit contender.

Hermansson provides the material for this edition of The Film Room.

Early in his career, Hermansson got by on sheer toughness and a willingness to stand and trade in the pocket. Before joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he would literally run at opponents until they were backed against the cage and then trade wild hooks in the pocket hoping for the home run knockout. This tactic worked wonders on lower level opponents, but Hermansson showed he is an intelligent fighter when he made his UFC debut and looked like a completely different fighter.

Hermansson remains an aggressive leading attacker, but he is now much more patient and tactical with his approach. He always stays light on his feet, which allows him to cover distance quickly, and he is constantly blitzing forward and backward to manipulate the opponent’s timing. His punches are not as technically clean as many of his contemporaries, as he often swings wide arm punches and crosses his feet when moving. However, it is nice to see that he knows the aggressive style on which he relied early in his career will not work at the highest levels and adapted accordingly. Hermansson also has long legs for a middleweight, so it would benefit him take advantage of that and throw more kicks.

Since Joining the UFC, Hermanson has relied heavily on footwork and movement. He starts every fight by taking exaggerated steps forward, backward and side to side to get a read on his opponent’s reactions. This might not look like much to the untrained eye, but you can see he is trying to determine how the opponent will react to these movements and use those reactions to set them up later in the fight.

Hermansson could stand to throw more kicks to the body and head, but he is an active leg kicker. He throws a lot of low line kicks to the knees and thighs, and he is quick enough with them to use them on the counter -- a tactic you do not see often. These kicks are perfect for someone who relies on movement since they slow down the opponent and make it easier for Hermansson to move around and take angles.

Although Hermansson is an excellent striker, he has been wrestling since he was 8 years old and has relied on his grappling in the UFC much more than his standup skills. Since he is an aggressive striker, he often finds himself in the clinch -- a position from which he lands most of his takedowns. He rarely shoots for double- and single-legs, but if he does, they come off of a caught kick or when the opponent overextends and leaves his hips wide open.

Once the fight hits the canvas, Hermansson utilizes some of the most relentless ground-and-pound in the division, but he is also smart enough to know when to pass guard and improve position and when to posture up and unload. He generally likes to go from side control to a side saddle before swinging his legs over into full mount. Once in mount, Hermansson cuts loose with ground-and-pound that more often than not results in a TKO finish. In fact, seven of his 11 knockout victories were from ground-and-pound, and all of his UFC finishes have come on the ground, including submissions in his last two appearances.

Hermansson also has an underrated submission game. He only has five submission victories on his record, but two of those came in his last two fights and it seems as though he is transitioning into more of a grappling-based fighter as his career moves forward. Of note are the guillotine chokes with which he finished Branch and Gerald Meerschaert. Both guillotines were of the arm-in variety, with the opponent almost in half guard. This choke is extremely difficult to finish from this position, but it is quickly becoming a trademark for “The Joker.” Advertisement


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