UFC Heavyweight bout: Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne
Betting Pick: Cheick Kongo
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The second bout of the evening has standup war written all over it, as French kickboxer Cheick Kongo faces big man Travis “Hapa” Browne, making only his second Octagon appearance. Both of these guys like to let their hands go and trade shots, so this one has fight of the night and knockout of the night potential.
Travis Browne, a relative newcomer to the UFC, cuts a rather imposing figure. At a whopping 6’7″, Browne is clearly a physical presence, and his extreme reach is complemented by some very serious punching power. Undefeated as a professional, Browne has finished 8 of his 10 opponents by knockout or TKO, with six of those coming in the first round. Clearly, Browne is a capable and dangerous striker. The question is how will he will handle this huge step up in competition and whether or not he can bully around a guy who is probably a superior technical kickboxer, not to mention a guy who has the ability to take him down and liquify his skull with ground and pound.
Kongo, who despite mixed results in the UFC is an extremely formidable opponent, will be entering the octagon at a disadvantage in terms of size, but very little else. He is probably the superior kickboxer in this fight, and certainly the more proven of the two. More importantly, he is not a one-note striker the way the Browne is, since he actually has very underrated takedowns and some of the best ground and pound in the sport.
Browne’s lanky frame is going to work against him in this one. While he will enjoy a reach advantage, his length is going to make it difficult for him to prevent takedowns, and that is exactly what he is going to need to do to win. Kongo is a great striker, but he is not going to stand there and get punched if he can help it, so I expect he will take Browne down early and completely work him over with ground and pound for the TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Cheick Kongo via first round T/KO.
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