Kennedy’s success in the ring typically comes as a result of his grappling. He’s solid when it comes to takedowns, dirty boxing, and submissions. However, Thompson represented an interesting challenge as someone with slick ground-skills as well. Their tilt also served as Kennedy’s Strikeforce debut. As usual, Kennedy rose to the occasion and ultimately forced Thompson to tap out in the second stanza due to strikes. Miller may currently be the punch line to a bevy of bad jokes after his recent run-ins with the law and Uriah Hall, but there was a time when “Mayhem” was a talented, tough draw. A decade ago Kennedy crossed paths with Miller in a single-night tournament and was able to outpoint him. The win was the second of Kennedy’s evening and set the table for him to earn the evening’s main prize with a TKO of Cruz Chacon in the final. Anyone who has been following MMA for awhile is more than familiar with Manhoef despite the powerful Dutchman having never made his way into the Octagon. Manhoef’s stand-up is as frightening as it comes and produced 25 knockouts in 27 total victories. Of course, Kennedy didn’t make the mistake of trading in the pocket with “No Mercy” even though he threw some strikes of his own before quickly taking things to the mat. After action went to the ground, Kennedy made quick work of Manhoef, choking him out with more than a minute remaining in the fight’s first frame. More than a few folks have fallen after tasting Lawler’s power but Kennedy wasn’t one of them. The bout wasn’t particularly memorable, as they started slow and Kennedy was a tactician more so than someone looking to create a classic. Lawler landed some nice strikes after stuffing a few takedowns and escaping back to his feet once or twice, but he was stifled for the most part and spent enough time on his back to net Kennedy the decision victory. Kennedy made his UFC debut at one of the organization’s biggest shows of the year and it included the unenviable task of dealing with a submission-specialist with Gracie’s credentials. Gracie also entered the Octagon as the bigger man based on his history at 205 pounds. Still, size mattered little when it counted, as Kennedy was able to control the action and pick up a decision win.
Wednesday night will mark a monumental moment in
UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy’s career. The 34-year old military veteran is on deck to duke it out with Rafael Natalat in an opportunity serving as Kennedy’s first headlining slot with the added anxiety of winning in front of his fellow soldiers due to the event’s “Fight for the Troops” billing. Of course, the 16-4 Kennedy works well under pressure based on his background as a Special Forces sniper, and chances are his aim will remain steady when he faces Natal based on similar success in the past. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 31