TUF Nations Finale Play: Michael “The Count” Bisping (-175) vs Tim Kennedy (+155)

Tim KennedyThe Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale Date: April 16, 2014 Arena: Colisee Pepsi City: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada Middleweight bout: Michael “The Count” Bisping (-175) vs Tim Kennedy (+155) Fight Breakdown: The main event for the Ultimate Fighter Nations finale will be a long-awaited match-up between a pair of middleweights who have done their fair share of trading words back and forth. A score will be settled on Wednesday night in Quebec, when The Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner Michael “The Count” Bisping takes on military veteran Tim Kennedy. “The Count” is the favorite entering this contest at -175 ($175 to win $100), with the return on the underdog Kennedy being +155 ($100 to win $155) at Several Bookmakerss. Michael “The Count” Bisping (24-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) is set to make his 20th appearance inside the Octagon following a year-long layoff due to an eye injury. The Brit is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Alan Belcher, and ironically enough, ended that fight by giving Belcher an eye poke where Bisping took the nod via technical decision. “The Count” is a talented kickboxer who mixes it up well on the feet. He has good footwork and head movement, doing an excellent job of positioning himself around the Octagon. He is a technical striker who possesses a nice lead jab, and puts together some solid and effective combinations, including a really nice 1-2 combo. His striking has always been solid, but it has really improved since he started working with Jason Parillo. The Ultimate Fighter season three veteran works nice inside leg kicks, and has a hard right hand he uses when presented with an opening. He has great takedown defense, and when taken down, does a tremendous job of getting back to his feet. He is very tough to keep down, even for a decorated wrestler. His offensive wrestling is solid, as well. Bisping works good takedowns, and has a good top game, being brutal and effective with his ground and pound whenever he does find himself in such a position. One thing that has never been an issue for “The Count” is his conditioning. While he has never seen a fourth round in his professional mixed martial arts career, I have no doubt he will be able to keep up a good pace for 25 minutes of action. Tim Kennedy (17-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is set to make his third appearance inside the Octagon, following a first round knockout of Rafael Natal at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 five months ago. He will now be looking to make it three in a row against Bisping, a fight he had long been pleading for. Kennedy is a skilled striker who possesses a great submission game, both offensively and defensively. He is very good with chokes, and favors the guillotine choke. His submission defense in tremendous, as well, as is his defensive grappling, in general. He is good at defending takedowns, as well as scoring them, especially with the double-leg. On the mat, Kennedy employs a vicious ground and pound attack that usually leads to a stoppage via TKO or submission. The Strikeforce veteran does a great job of mixing it up on the feet with every weapon he has, including knees and elbows, which he loves to employ. He has a good chin, and a nice overhand right behind it. The 34-year old has a great kicking game. He works powerful leg kicks, and is effective with them. After going 30-1 fighting as an amateur, Kennedy went pro and has amassed an impressive 16-4 record, which includes notable wins over Rafael Natal, Roger Gracie, Jason Miller, Melvin Manhoef, and Robbie Lawler. He is a finisher, as 14 of his 17 professional mixed martial arts career wins have come inside the distance; five by knockout, and eight by way of submission. Training in high altitude at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, NM, Kennedy is a cardio machine who will not have trouble going hard for 25 minutes against the Brit. In fact, he’s already done it twice in Strikeforce when vying for the promotion’s title. Gabe’s Prediction: I don’t think people are giving Kennedy enough credit. Everyone seems to be counting him out. I feel he has a decent chance at winning this fight. Both middleweights are very well-rounded, so I am expecting a competitive match-up. Regardless of who gets his hand raised, I think this bout goes the distance more often than not. Gabe’s Call: Kennedy by Split Decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Over 4.5 rounds (-225) 2.25u to win 1u

Written by Gabe Killian

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