Roy Nelson vs Cheick Kongo: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
The card in New Jersey will feature two of the UFC's best heavyweights in action.
Nelson is riding a two-fight win streak in to the Octagon. Back-to-back knockouts over Dave Herman and Matt Mitrione have given to life to Nelson in the division.
Kongo is 4-1-1 in his last six bouts, and is coming off a decision win over Shawn Jordan. A victory over Nelson would thrust Kongo back in to the thick of the heavyweight division.
This is how the fight breaks down from head to toe.
Both fighters have knockout power and decent stand-up, but only one is improving.
Nelson's technique has improved with each fight. That should not stop against Kongo in April.
Kongo has a kickboxing background, but he does most of his damage on the mat with ground-and-pound. His stand-up is not as polished as his background would suggest, though, and he is in real danger of being knocked out in this fight.
If the trajectory of Nelson's improved striking continues then he will be just fine on his feet.
Kongo can do some serious damage from top control, but getting there will be an issue.
Nelson has a total grappling advantage in this fight. He is a better wrestler and submission artist than Kongo. Unless Nelson makes a vital error there should be no way in which he ends up on his back with Kongo dealing out punishment.
On the ground this is a totally one-sided affair. Nelson should have no problem dominating this fight on the canvas.
Kongo's X-Factor: Get On Top
Kongo needs to find a way to get the fight on the ground with him in top position. Nelson is an accomplished jiu-jitsu fighter, but as he uses his ground-and-pound it will force Nelson to defend more than attack.
The 37-year-old can do significant damage from the top, and that is probably his best path to victory against Nelson.
Nelson's X-Factor: Play It Safe
Nelson holds the advantage standing and on the mat. There is no reason to make any risky decisions in this fight.
He simply needs to let the fight come to him and find the easiest path to the W. If Kongo does well enough on the feet then Nelson can look to take it down and vice versa. Nelson should be in full control of this fight from the opening bell.
This fight is Nelson's to lose.
Kongo always has a puncher's chance, and in the sport of mixed martial arts anything can happen. A simple slip can cause the fight to flip in the other direction. Kongo needs something crazy to happen.
We have seen Kongo get rocked in numerous fights, and that will probably happen again with Big Country's huge power. And should he land one of those massive right hands the fight is a wrap.
Nelson has numerous ways to win this fight, but it will be by knockout that he does it. He will do it in the first five minutes of the fight and walk away with his third straight knockout win. Nelson will be right back in the discussions of the UFC's heavyweight division.
Prediction: Nelson defeats Kongo by knockout in the first round.