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The UFC on ESPN 19 matchup between Damon Jackson and Spanish upstart Ilia Topuria has the potential to be a fascinating grappling clash. The pair’s 21 combined submissions make up for 78 percent of their victories in mixed martial arts. However, Jackson believes there will be a clear decider in who comes out on top if the bout hits the mat. That being a rugged grappling acumen he’s curated for almost as many years as his 23-year-old opponent has been on this earth.
“I’ve been wrestling since I was 12,” Jackson told Sherdog. “Going with someone who has been wrestling every day and doing jiu-jitsu every day, for the past 20 years, is a big difference from going against someone that has just been training it so they can be a better MMA fighter. I’ve been grappling my whole life. I think his transition game will be great, and it’s something I’ve got to respect. But off of his submission attempts and his takedowns, he’s going to have to worry about my submission attempts and my reversals. Like if he shoots in, and I get on top of him, he won’t get back up. That’s something a lot of people figure out once I start fighting with them. I’m a top-game guy for sure [and] I’m looking for that finish. Give me your neck in a weird spot and I’m going to take that finish.”
Along with breaking down his bout inside the UFC Apex on Dec. 5, “The Leech” explained how starting his second stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a win in September was so important.