UFC 149 preview: Shawn Jordan looks to climb heavyweight ladder against Cheick Kongo

Shawn Jordan (left) will face Cheick Kongo at UFC 149

The UFC 149 main card will feature a heavyweight bout between UFC veteran Cheick Kongo as he welcomes Shawn Jordan to play with the big boys. Kongo is a solid veteran that’s being used as a type of ‘gatekeeper’ for young up and comers like Jordan. Kongo was able to turn back Matt Mitrione at UFC 137 in a similar role. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Shawn Jordan (13-3) comes into this fight off a TKO victory over Oli Thompson at the UFC on FX 2 event in March. It was his UFC debut after formerly competing in the Strikeforce promotion where he went (1-1). Jordan is a former NCAA Division 1 football player at LSU where he played fullback. Jordan was a standout wrestler in high school prior to his college football career, and now trains at Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico. Jordan has won nine fights via TKO/KO and three fights via submission.

Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) comes into this fight off a TKO loss against Mark Hunt at UFC 144. Kongo had gone (3-0-1) in the four fights prior to the fight with Hunt. Kongo has won 11 fights via TKO/KO and has one technical submission to his credit. He comes from a kickboxing background, but has improved his wrestling over the years and does have some nasty ground and pound.

This is an interesting fight in that you have the shorter but more explosive Jordan going up against the longer more technical striker in Kongo. Kongo will have a massive reach advantage in this one so it’ll be in his best interest to keep Jordan at a distance which will do two things.

It’ll allow Kongo to pick him a part with strikes and force Jordan to shoot for takedowns from too far away.

However, if Jordan is able close the distance he could put Kongo in trouble with the power he possesses in his strikes. Kongo’s chin has been found a few times as he’s been knocked out twice and hurt on several ocassions. Jordan certainly has the power to put him away. If he’s able to close the distance he could possibly put Kongo on his back with his wrestling. Kongo defends about half of the takedowns that are attempted against him so Jordan has a shot if he gets in close.

It’s a tough fight to call. Jordan is taking this fight on short notice so I’m not sure how his cardio will be in the late rounds if it goes that long. I can definitely see Kongo giving Jordan fits with his length, but I can also see Jordan connecting and putting Kongo to sleep if he’s able to close the distance effectively. I think I’m go with the young gun in this one via TKO.

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