MMAFrenzy’s coverage of UFC 137 continues as we continue our preview of Saturday’s main card with a fight between heavyweights Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo.
Stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.com each day this week as we take a look at new fight from UFC 137, leading up to the main event showdown between welterweight contenders BJ Penn and Nick Diaz.
Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo
Keys for Mitrione (BR) – The smack talk between these two has gotten quite weird. Mitrione mentioned getting Kongo pregnant if he has to wrestle his way to a win. Kongo fired back ‘if he is going to get me pregnant, then I am going to give him his period.’
This whole scenario has become stranger by the day, and I would like for them both to release the results from their physical to find out who the actual female is in this fight, since they both seem to contend the other one is. Regardless of the ending circumstances following Saturday, these two will fight.
Mitrione will be looking to continue his undefeated streak in the UFC, as he has won his previous five matches.
What Mitrione brings that very few heavyweights can compete with is his athleticism. As a former NFL player, he has dictated the pace in every one of his fights. He should be able to do that again on Saturday. While Kongo will be more than comfortable standing with Mitrione, Kongo has struggled with quicker guys that are precise with their strikes. Yes, Kongo did knock down champion Cain Velasquez twice, but Velasquez recovered and ultimately won by decision.
Since that fight, Kongo has fought Frank Mir, who easily dismantled Kongo. He was on his way to losing to Pat Barry before coming back from the dead to knock him out.
Mitrione has endured few issues in his two fights this year, against Tim Hague and Christian Morecraft. Kongo will most certainly threaten Mitrione more than those previous two.
With those comments about “impregnating” Kongo, it seems that Mitrione is planning on grappling with Kongo. However, I don’t expect that to occur. Mitrione has gained confidence by the minute during the last two years in the UFC. That confidence should continue on Saturday.
Keys for Kongo (Chris Leslie) – There is one important question ahead of Kongo’s fight with Mitrione “how much has Kongo left on the operating table?” Let’s be honest, we really did not learn that answer in his fight with Pat Barry. The fight with Barry was really a pyrrhic victory for Kongo’s central nervous system, as he had Dan Miraglotta’s observant refereeing and Barry’s inaccurate strikes to thank for even surviving to have a shot at the KO.
Kongo has had a good run in the octagon, and at 36, he has fallen to gatekeeper status. Mitrione has to be careful because, when healthy, Kongo is an accurate striker with good takedown defense. Whether or not Kongo is healthy, he still has the power to finish a fight in quick and decisive fashion at anytime. A fact that Barry found that out the hard way.
While Kongo has the kickboxing base and talent to give Mitrione trouble, Kongo could always throw Mitrione a curveball like he did Heath Herring and grapple. Mitrione’s takedown defense is usually pretty strong unless he gets overextended, but that can be said of most strikers. So while it is unlikely that Kongo will surprise us and turn the fight into a ground war, it is something that can always happen.
If Kongo loses badly however, I would not be surprised if he hangs it up after a solid career in the UFC and kickboxing.
UFC 137 Previews: