UFC Fight Night 31: “Fight for the Troops 3” is set to pop off from Fort Campbell, Kentucky tomorrow night. The card features a main event showdown between middleweights Tim Kennedy and Rafael Natal. Kenney was originally slated to face Lyoto Machida, but he received a step down in competition when “The Dragon” replaced Michael Bisping versus Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30. Check out our predictions of tomorrow night’s main event.
Mike Drahota: Kennedy is a solid performer who is very tough to finish off. He may not be flashy, but he gets the job done. His opponent Natal has been on a roll as of late with three wins in a row, but they haven’t exactly been against top competition. It’s going to be hard to put Kennedy in any danger in terms of submissions for Natal. ‘Sapo’s’ striking appears to be improving, but Kennedy still has him beat. I’ll go with Tim Kennedy via R2 TKO.
Rory Kernaghan: Tim Kennedy needs to make an impression against Rafael Natal tomorrow night, as his first UFC fight failed to do so. Natal is a pretty slick grappler, but I’m not sure that he has the power to get Kennedy down to the mat. Look for more aggressive striking from Kennedy than in the Gracie fight, earning the sniper a second round TKO win.
Brian Cox: Rafael Natal is a solid fighter and well-rounded. That said, the strength of his attack favors his ground and not his stand-up. I believe that in order for him to beat Kennedy he’ll have to get the fight to the ground and I don’t think Natal will be able to accomplish that task. As I believe this match will remain on the feet and at Kennedy’s choosing, I’m going to give the nod to Tim in this bout; winner by unanimous decision, Tim Kennedy.
Buster Evans: On paper, Natal has got a good record for his fights so far this year. He’s looked great at the beginning of his bouts until his limited gas tank runs dry. Against Kennedy he’s facing a guy who has showed that he has no problem going five rounds. I think if Natal has any chance of winning it has to be early. He’s got to get in Kennedy’s face, hurt him and follow up quickly with a quick sub or TKO. That will be easier said than done because Kennedy has only ever been stopped once due to cuts in his debut; that was 12 years ago. Look for Kennedy to control the fight and maybe finish late in the rounds; Kennedy via unanimous decision.
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