Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello: UFC on Versus 1 Preview

Sterling SpiarsAnalyst IMarch 16, 2010

The action is sure to pick up in the second televised fight of the night. Two heavy-handed sluggers are set to come out with their dukes swinging as Cheick Kongo fights Paul "The Headhunter" Buentello.

The experienced Buentello recently made a move into the Grudge Training Center in the mile high city to prepare for Kongo. Training with the likes of Nate Marquardt and Shane Carwin should help out Buentello big time.

Kongo's camp isn't too shabby itself. Training over in London with the Wolfslair Academy, Kongo gets to train with former light-heavyweight champion, Quinton Jackson, as well as Michael Bisping.

Training camps aside, the game plan of each fighter is relatively the same, but through different styles of attack. They are going to look for their opponent's rhythm and timing. Once they find it, it's just a matter of who can connect first.

Don't expect any submissions in this fight. Kongo does hold a blue belt in jiu jitsu, which shows he is trying to up his ground game, but both fighters are strong enough to muscle their way out of any submission attempt that may happen.

Any ground game that may happen in this fight will come in the granite-fist variety. Buentello is dangerous with his ground-and-pound, but Kongo's is a notch above, especially with his monstrous reach.

Luckily for the Texas native, Buentello's large frame and balance make him really hard to take down. Hitting the scales at 250+ pounds to Kongo's 230 will make his takedown defense just that much better.

Then again, Kongo is explosively strong. If he can get a firm hold of Buentello, he has the strength to rip him from his feet and put him on the ground.

Still, takedown attempts will likely only come in one of two ways: The attacker shoots in after stunning the other with a punch, or the dazed fighter will duck under the aggressive striker to avoid the oncoming onslaught.

You never know, though; one of them may completely surprise the fans and look for the takedown immediately. The realm of possibility is very slim, but it's still likely nonetheless, considering that both fighters are expecting a stand-up war.

This is a complete win for the fans as two knockout-seeking kickboxers will slug it out after sizing each other up. So who is going to connect first?

Buentello has a very effective jab, among other clean boxing strikes. He's capable of finding angles past his opponent's guard and connecting with small combinations. He has put a lot of work into his boxing since his departure with the UFC in 2006.

So much so that he's laid off of his kicks quite a bit. Buentello earned "The Headhunter" nickname by searching for knockouts with a head kick in the early part of his career.

He might want to implement his kicks in a little bit more against Kongo. Most effectively, a leg kick attack to slow down the explosive power in Kongo's legs.The French fighter is great at swinging his hips into the kick, and Buentello will slow down dramatically if he eats too many of Kongo's kicks.

In addition to Kongo's explosive kicks, his hands are just as quick and deadly. He could still clean up some holes in his foot and head movement as evident in his fight with Frank Mir, but Kongo still uses his reach as an advantage really well.

While Buentello has cleaner boxing over Kongo, it is in this writer's opinion that Kongo's hands are much faster and more powerful. He holds the advantage in striking, but not by much.

Kongo also holds a major advantage should they clinch after a hay-making frenzy. He is a muay thai world champion that uses his length to deliver punishing knees. Buentello is good at landing uppercuts in the clinch, but Kongo's strength should be enough to control his opponent enough to avoid them.

After a big punch clips the skull, Kongo will finish the fight via heavy ground-and-pound.



Experience: Buentello

Training camp: Buentello

Submissions: Draw

Submission defense: Buentello

Ground striking: Kongo

Takedown defense: Buentello

Takedowns: Kongo

Range striking: Kongo

Clinch striking: Kongo


UFC on Versus 1 Official Picks

Schafer over Brilz

Pierce over Paulino

Schaub over Gormley

Ludwig over Elkins

Roberts over Howard

Matyushenko over Marshall

Guida over Gugerty

Sakara over Irvin

Kongo over Buentello

Keep an eye out for coverage on the night's star-studded co-main event between Junior dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga in the next couple of days.