UFC 99: The Comeback on Saturday will feature a fight between two of the top contenders, Cheick Kongo and Cain Velasquez, for the UFC Heavyweight Title. This matchup should go a long way in determining who will face the winner of the UFC 100 tilt between Lesnar and Mir. It is of this writer's opinion that the winner of the Kongo/Velasquez fight on Saturday will find himself across the Octagon against the winner of the Lesnar/Mir fight later this year.
For Kongo, some might say it is long overdue. A win this weekend would only further validate his status as a top contender to the Heavyweight crown. For Velasquez, it would be a huge step forward in his young career.
Kongo's road to victory
For Kongo to win, it is a no-brainer: He must stay standing up. Kongo is a kickboxing expert and is very dangerous on his feet. He holds a very big advantage on his feet against Cain Velasquez. If Cain gets him to the ground, it could make for a very long night for Kongo.
Cheick Kongo has shown improvement over the course of his last few fights at being able to do more on the ground; however, he is not the caliber of ground fight that Cain Velasquez is.
Velasquez's road to victory
For Cain Velasquez to win, he must prepare himself for an early onslaught of striking and muay tai clinch from Cheick Kongo. If he can be patient and wait for his opening to shoot on Kongo to take him to the ground, then I could see a Velasquez victory. This is the first big test for Velasquez, as Kongo is definitely the best fighter he will have faced to date.
It should be interesting to see if he has the patience of a veteran fighter to make Kongo fight his game or if he will get suckered into believing he can stand toe-to-toe with Kongo.
The first round should be a striking war. Kongo will come close to securing a KO in the first, but Velasquez will scramble and find a way to make it out of the first round alive.
The second round will be a total 180 as Velasquez will have realized that he can't stand and bang with Kongo, so he will get his take down and control most of the second round with some ground and pound. The third round will find a mixture of both Kongo getting a few licks in on his feet, before Velasquez takes him down about half way through the round. From there Velasquez will continue to punish Kongo, but won't finish him.
Velasquez wins by Split Decision 29-28, 29-28, 28-29.