UFC: Behind the success of commentator Jon Anik; Fight Night Predictions

Welcome to The Weekly Takedown, Illustrated sports ”the latest look at MMA. Each week, this column will offer insight and information on the most remarkable stories in the combat world.

Behind the magic of Jon Anik’s call

Jon Anik recently called back-to-back pay-per-views on back-to-back weekends, providing the soundtrack for UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi on October 30, and then UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden on November 6.

The melodious Anik was a welcome guest in the homes of fight fans as he detailed Kamaru Usman finally sidelining rival Colby Covington and displayed genuine emotion describing Glover Teixeira’s long-awaited championship celebration. Anik called Khamzat Chimaev’s rise a weekend ascension, then added a voice seven days later to the unfiltered violence of Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje as the two greats took turns drilling each other with vicious strikes.

A distinct component of Anik’s appeals is his respect and admiration for fighters, never losing sight of the people who enter the Octagon for a living.

“I treat every show with the respect and energy it deserves,” says Anik. “I never lose sight of these factors.”

An integral part of the UFC since 2011 and the leading play-by-play broadcaster since 2017, Anik is so highly skilled that he makes a job seem extremely difficult as elementary. It’s a testament to his talent, of course, as well as the relentless preparation he does before every fight.

There were 28 different fighters on the UFC 267 card, followed by 28 more at UFC 268. Anik prepared intricate fight cards for the 56 contestants, following his meticulously detailed handwriting system beforehand. to memorize all this information.

The comprehensive process is a critical part of Anik’s success. And while the Massachusetts native always makes fighters the centerpiece of every show he airs, he’s quickly becoming one of the most trusted on-air voices in all of MMA. He builds that confidence away from the cameras, leading his laborious preparation with a permanent Sharpie fine point in hand.

“I have a system that requires me to print out these UFC-generated fighter bios, and then I manually write what I consider important of those bios to my fighter cards,” says Anik, who owns a library. fighter cards of around 6,000 athletes. “I create a new card for each fighter for each fight, transferring the relevant information to the new card, which replaces the old one. It’s a process that goes back to academia for me and the way I studied.

Jon Anik writes detailed fighter cards before each broadcast

Anik’s success is deeply rooted in his preparation, then reinforced by his passion and charisma. And just as MMA is more of a team sport than many people often think, Anik is grateful to his colleagues at the broadcast table, including Daniel Cormier, Joe Rogan, Dominick Cruz and Paul Felder.

“I had the great pleasure of working with 15 different diffusion combinations, and it’s my job with my skills to take advantage of their strengths,” says Anik, who can deepen the technical and cerebral aspect of a fights as well as he does. can add a bit of laughter to the show. “They don’t get the shine when it comes to the Emmys or proper public recognition, perhaps because of the sport’s relative infancy, but our analysts are as good as any analyst at any sport in America. “

As the frenzied chaos of the cage ignites a passion in Anik, there is a price attached to his high stature: it’s time away from home, where he leaves behind his wife and three children, Riley ( 10 years), Tatum (8) and Chasseur (3).

“I was crying in my hotel room in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago thinking about my family,” says Anik. “Knowing that I was going to be away for 16 days made me incredibly emotional. Yes, I am chasing my professional dream. I feel very blessed, but it’s hard not to think about the things that I miss.

Anik, 43, has worked his way to the number one broadcast position in combat sports. He took lessons along the way from his undergraduate studies at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, his brief period of journalism studies at American University, and a plethora of skills he still applies since graduating. at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. And while he certainly doesn’t need to remember the journey required to reach his current location, he recognizes that it wouldn’t be possible without the support of his family.

“In an industry there are always more movies to consume or some other live event to watch, I cannot thank my family enough,” says Anik. “They all made a lot of sacrifices for me. Fortunately, when I am at home, I can be omnipresent.

Even though he longs to be home, Anik always makes a different appeal from all his peers, which captures the hustle and bustle of his job, losing himself in the magic of a fight.

Although it does not usually call a A night of fighting card leading to a pay-per-view, Anik’s next call will be UFC on ESPN: Font vs. Aldo on December 4 before putting on the headphones the following week to call Amanda Nunes at UFC 269.

“I feel very lucky to do this,” says Anik. “I know it sometimes falls on deaf ears, but you never know how long it will last. That’s why I treat every show like it’s the last and give it everything I’ve got.

Max Holloway ready for the trilogy against Alexander Volkanovski

Max Holloway returned to the cage exactly as he left last January: with yet another win.

Holloway (23-6) earned his second consecutive unanimous decision victory – and his second straight Fight of the Night title – when he defeated Yair Rodríguez on Saturday.

Despite the loss, Rodríguez (13-3, 1 NC) looked exceptional, clearly enjoying free time since his last fight in October 2019. His strike was sharp and his approach was undoubtedly a clash issue for Holloway. . Yet despite Rodríguez’s impressive performance, Holloway was still too much. He controlled the floor time of over five minutes and landed larger head and body strikes, completely reasserting himself as a force in the cage.

While other options certainly exist for Holloway, the one that makes the most sense is the trilogy fight against Alexander Volkanovsky. The first two followed Volkanovski’s path, once unanimously and then by shared decision. There is real interest in a third encounter, and the winner of the trilogy would have the potential for a massive fight against Henry Cejudo.

The Pick ‘Em section

Here are my picks for this weekend’s fights:

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Fight: Ketlen Viera vs. Miesha Tate
Pick: Miesha Tate

UFC welterweight fight: Michael Chiesa vs. Sean Brady
Pick: Michael Chiesa

UFC male bantamweight fight: Rani Yahya vs. Kang Kyung-Ho
Pick: Rani Yahya

UFC Women’s Flyweight Fight: Joanne Calderwood vs. Taila Santos
Pick: Taila Santos

UFC male bantamweight fight: Davey Grant vs. Adrian Yanez
Pick: Adrian Yanez

Last week: 4–2

Current record: 49-27

Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Justinbarrasso.