Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

How Kennedy fares against ‘big name’ opponents


Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Kennedy was favored upon entering the octagon at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 against Rafael Natal.  Kennedy, miraculously walking into the cage with a torn quadriceps muscle, showed us why.

Originally scheduled to welcome the former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida to the middleweight division, Kennedy was understandably upset when he was notified that Machida would no longer be his opponent. Hungry for a notable replacement, the war veteran took to Twitter to call out everyone from retired welterweight Nick Diaz to heavyweight Alistair Overeem in a catch weight bout. Natal honorably answered.

After his performance against Natal on Wednesday, Kennedy won’t have to do much more to secure a “big name,” and presumably top 10, opponent, Dana White said at the post-fight press conference.

Looking ahead, here’s how Kennedy would likely fare against the latter half of the UFC’s top 10 middleweights:

 

10. Chael Sonnen

Assuming Sonnen ever decides to drop back down to middleweight, I don’t see this one going very well for Kennedy. While both men are known less for their striking and more for their wrestling, I find it difficult to believe that anybody in this division can match Sonnen’s constant aggression. Even if he were able to outwrestle Sonnen for parts of the contest, Sonnen’s bottomless cardio would provide an even greater threat to earn himself the victory.

Sonnen via unanimous decision.

 

9. “Costa” Philppou

Yet another tough matchup for Kennedy, though not for the same reasons. He would be wise to take the fight to the ground early, avoiding any standup with the elite striker in Philippou. Kennedy’s wrestling and jiu-jitsu abilities should pose even greater problems, though.

Kennedy via unanimous decision.

 

8. Francis Carmont

This is another interesting grappling matchup between two seasoned fighters. With two out of Carmont’s last three victories surrounding themselves with controversy, this one shouldn’t. At some point, this fight gets to the ground and Carmont will attempt to collect his 11th submission victory. I think Kennedy will be able to avoid the danger and smother his way to having his arm raised.

Kennedy via unanimous decision.

 

7. Mark Muñoz

Color me interested. Muñoz’s MMA wrestling is not exactly Sonnen-esque, giving Kennedy the opportunity to engage in a bonafide war with the “Filipino Wrecking Machine.” With Kennedy looking for a notable opponent and Muñoz coming off of a tough loss to Machida, both men would be looking to solidify their position as contenders in the UFC’s middleweight division. Muñoz hasn’t looked impressive since he defeated Chris Leben at UFC 138; Kennedy takes this one.

Kennedy via unanimous decision.

 

6. Luke Rockhold

We’ve seen this one-sided affair before. Rockhold’s range provided Kennedy with too many obstacles he could not overcome in their first meeting. Unless Kennedy suddenly finds his inner Vitor Belfort, I don’t think their second get-together would prove different.

Rockhold via unanimous decision.

 

 

Tags: MMA Tim Kennedy UFC