Somewhere, Cain Velasquez is smiling.
That’s because, in a bit of a surprise, former opponent Cheick Kongo decided to work on his takedowns rather than wanting to stand and bang with fellow striker Paul “The Headhunter” Buentello.
Sure he was willing to trade when called for, and did plenty of damage there, but whenever the opportunity presented itself, Kongo put Buentello on his back over and over…and over.
Kongo, who has a reputation for fighting dirty, accidentally or not, kneed his grounded opponent during the course of the fight and rightfully had a point deducted; Buentello, ever the trooper, pushed forward and absorbed plenty of punishment in route a third round TKO (via strikes).
For Kongo, the win was impressive, if you give him credit for making the commitment to sharpen up his takedowns.
Perhaps the French K-1 Kickboxer is looking to round out his arsenal. We already know he has nasty striking, so give credit to him for what could be called a “smart” game plan.
Kongo remains competitive in the top ten of the Heavyweight division. A fight with the Mirko Cro Cop-Pat Barry winner, or a fight with the Ben Rothwell-Gilbert Yvel winner, would provide for fireworks; both of those fights are slated for UFC 115 later this year.
For Buentello, who carries some good name value, he may have one more fight in him if the UFC is feeling generous and can find use for him in a last chance fight. Don’t be surprised though if he is given his walking papers.