UFC 159 Picks: Heavyweights Roy Nelson (-235) vs. Cheick Kongo (+215)

UFC-159 UFC 159 Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey Saturday, April 27, 2013 Heavyweight Title: Roy Nelson (-235) vs. Cheick Kongo (+215) Fight Breakdown: A heavyweight bout between veterans Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo takes place on the main card of UFC 159. Nelson is currently a -235 betting favorite (bet $235 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers, while Kongo is a +215 underdog (bet $100 to win $215). Nelson (18-7) has won his last two fights and three of his last four fights via knockout as he continues to make a push towards a title shot. The 36-year-old is known for his less-than-stellar physique but don’t let his belly fat fool you as this is one dangerous fighter. Nelson is exceptionally powerful — he’s won 11 times by T/KO, including three “Knockout of the Night” performances in the UFC — and he has an underrated ground game as he’s a BJJ black belt. However, Nelson almost always prefers to stand and bang as his iron chin allows him to stand in the pocket and trade bombs with the best of them, although it’s cost him when he’s fought better strikers such as Junior dos Santos. Nelson has been red-hot as of late and a win over Kongo would shoot him higher up the heavyweight ladder. Kongo (18-7-2) hasn’t fought since an extremely boring decision win over Shawn Jordan at UFC 149. The 37-year-old, who has notable wins over Mirko Cro Cop and Pat Barry, is one of the tallest and longest fighters at heavyweight, but he’s aways been a smaller heavyweight as far as weight goes. As for skills, Kongo is a solid striker with good finishing power (10 knockout wins in his career), but his best attribute is his Greco Roman wrestling, which allows him to pin his opponents up against the fence and control them there. Against the fence Kongo tries to stay busy enough so the referee doesn’t break the fighters apart by utilizing dirty boxing and throwing knees — often below the belt (he also grabs the shorts quite a bit). He can beat Nelson if he sticks to his “wall and stall” strategy but if he stays on the feet with Nelson, he’ll likely be knocked out cold, as his chin is most definitely fading at this later stage of his career. Fight Prediction: I see the fight playing out on the feet and I really can’t see Kongo being able to avoid Nelson’s power for too long. Nelson will stalk Kongo down and throw bombs, eventually landing that big overhand right of his to crush Kongo and win his fourth-straight fight. Adam’s Pick: Nelson via T/KO (click for latest UFC 158 odds) Adam’s Recommended Play: Nelson should win this fight and, with the combination of his power and Kongo’s fading chin, I like him to win by T/KO. Go with the Nelson wins inside the distance prop, which is currently around -145, or consider parlaying Nelson at the moneyline of -235.

Written by Adam Martin.

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