A very intriguing middleweight match up between two Strikeforce imports, Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie, was set as the swing fight on the UFC 162 main card. Both men are exceptional fighters on the mat, so it was going to be interesting to see how the two could avoid the other fighters strength. Anytime you face a Gracie, you know you are in danger when the fight hits the canvas, but Kennedy had the skill set to survive.
Kennedy was looking to use kicks to get inside of Gracie’s much longer reach early, but Gracie was able to tie up toe former Green Beret and take Kennedy to the round as he immediately looked to take his back, but Kennedy was able to avoid danger and look for a takedown of his own.
The fight got back to the center of the octagon where Kennedy had the advantage, but he was unable to reach Gracie because of the height and reach difference.
Gracie engaged with Kennedy once again and brought him back to the mat where he was able to secure the back mount with a figure four body lock. However, Kennedy showed off the ground skills he possesses by rolling inside of the body triangle and landing in the top position before the bell sounded.
At the start of Round 2, Kennedy landed the first takedown and was able to land some powerful ground-and-pound as Gracie looked to scramble and work his way to a more favorable position. Gracie was able to get back to his feet, but Kennedy continued to press him against the cage as the crowd showered the fighters with the “USA” chants. Kennedy continued to show that he was not afraid of grappling with Gracie as he landed another takedown with two minutes remaining in the round.
You could see Gracie beginning to wear down as the second round continued thanks to the non-stop pressure from Kennedy.
The fight appeared to be even heading in to the final frame, so Kennedy was looking to keep the pressure on in the final five minutes in an effort to take advantage of his fading opponent.
Kennedy and Gracie felt each other out over the first few minutes of Round 3, before Gracie shot in for a takedown that was briefly successful, but Kennedy quickly returned to his feet. Kennedy picked up the pressure with just over two minutes to go as he looked to close out his opponent.
Kennedy did enough to take the decision, but the fight was less than spectacular.