UFC 137: What Matt Mitrione Must Do to Beat Cheick Kongo

Joe BastoneContributor IOctober 29, 2011

UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz will be emanating live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the co-main event, we have the privilege of watching two of the best striking heavyweights in the division.

Matt Mitrione will be putting his 5-0 record on the line against the French kickboxer, Cheick Kongo, in a three-round affair.

For Kongo, this fight could put him back into a more high-profile position in the UFC’s heavyweight division. This is, however, a fight built to bolster the ranking of Matt Mitrione.

The key to victory for Mitrione is staying calm. Cheick Kongo has very high-level striking matched with good takedown defense, power and well-placed aggression. If Mitrione can keep the demeanor of comfort he has displayed in his fights thus far, he should do well to handle what Kongo throws at him.

We still have not seen anything out of Matt Mitrione off the floor. Mitrione will have to be careful if Kongo gets him down. Kongo’s ground-and-pound is among the best the division has to offer. At this stage in the game, I’m not sure Mitrione would be able to weather a ground-and-pound storm from Kongo.

Keeping the hands up is a must for Matt Mitrione. Mitrione was able to get away with the low hands against Christian Morecraft, a much slower opponent than Kongo with mediocre striking. I believe Mitrione’s left hand can put Kongo away, but he will have to pick his spots, utilize his speed and defense and keep Kongo from pressing him. If Mitrione can use his quick inside leg kick to bring Kongo’s hands down, it will open up the big jab/cross combo, which should be able to finish the French standout.