In another week in which the major U.S. promotions are taking a break, the focus this week falls on the international circuit. Specifically, Poland’s Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) 20 event, which takes place from Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, on Saturday, Sept. 15.

In the night’s most important bout, KSW light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz puts his belt on the line against heavy-handed former UFC combatant Houston Alexander.

On paper, the fight might appear to be a mismatch as the 40-year-old Alexander is on the downside of his career, but the veteran does hold a win over the last man to defeat Blachowicz, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills matchup against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Blachowicz – 9, Alexander – 10

Alexander (L) walks away with a knockout win (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

The most interesting aspect of this fight will be on the feet. Alexander has always had pure knockout power in his hands, and despite his increased age, it’s still there. However, as Alexander’s career has progressed, his chin has become more and more suspect. In fact, he enters the title fight coming off back-to-back knockout losses to Gilbert Yvel and Steve Bosse. Luckily for “The Assassin,” Blachowicz has only one true knockout win on his resume. Where Alexander has to be careful is in his technique. He has a tendency to headhunt with his overhand right and leaves himself open to a counter left hook.

Poland’s most accomplished fighter, Blachowicz, would be wise to avoid standing and trading with Alexander. Although he’s never been knocked out in his career, he’s never faced anyone with the power of the American. Blachowicz has handled experienced strikers like UFC vet Mario Miranda and Bellator champ Christian M’Pumbu in the past, but neither tested his chin in the way Alexander will.

Ground Game: Blachowicz – 10, Alexander – 8

Blachowicz secures a submission (Jumana Totongi/Sherdog)

Without question, this is the department with the biggest mismatch. Alexander wants the fight on the feet, where he has the tools. If this fight hits the mat, the Nebraska native could be in a lot of trouble. While most promoters have matched him against strikers, his lone UFC fight against a grappler (Eric Schafer) ended in a submission loss. And with more than 20 fights on his resume, Alexander has never submitted an opponent with anything but his fists.

Blachowicz has a slick ground game that easily outclasses anything that Alexander can offer. Roughly half of his 15 career wins have come by way of tapout, and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt has shown the ability to submit his opponents from dominant positions and his guard. His preferred method is the rear-naked choke, but at one point in his career he finished three straight opponents with armbars from his back, including the aforementioned M’Pumbu. If this fight finds the ground, Blachowicz has the skill set to finish Alexander.

Wrestling: Blachowicz – 10, Alexander – 9

Although Alexander hails from America’s heartland—a wrestling hotbed—his skills in this department are focused on keeping the fight on the feet. Much like many fighters in his age group, Alexander has always used his wrestling in reverse, rather than as an offensive attack. Expect nothing else in this fight.

While Blachowicz is more of a submission fighter, he has shown the ability to beat fighters of any background. The three-time KSW tournament winner is not an accomplished wrestler by most MMA standards, but he has excellent hips and can bring a fight to the ground from the clinch. He’ll look to put that to use against Alexander and stay away from his right hand.

X-Factor

It’s rare that you see any fighter enter a title fight coming off two straight losses, so Alexander really has nothing to lose in this fight. Does the veteran have anything left? Will his experience against much tougher competition give him an edge over the Polish champion?

Blachowicz has battled injuries in the past, which contributed to his loss to Sokoudjou. But when healthy, the 29-year-old has looked like a UFC-caliber fighter. A win over Alexander probably won’t do much for his stock, but can he finish off the veteran in an impressive manner?

Scorecard: Blachowicz – 29, Alexander – 27

Verdict: If the Alexander of 2007 were in this fight, I’d be concerned for Blachowicz’s consciousness. But the sport has moved past the veteran, and unless the champion makes a huge mistake, don’t expect an upset. Blachowicz keeps his belt with a second-round rear-naked choke victory.

Top Photo: Jan Blachowicz celebrates a win (Jumana Totongi/Sherdog)