On November 6th, American Tim Kennedy will square off with Brazilian Rafael Natal at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 at Fort Campbell in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Rafael Natal is filling in his fellow Brazilian Lyoto Machida who was moved to the UFC Fight Night 30 event.
Tim Kennedy: (16-4: 5 KO’s, 8 Subs)
Kennedy is coming into this fight fresh off a unanimous decision win over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Roger Gracie at UFC 162. The Jackson’s MMA representative used a solid top game to control the young Gracie by mixing great wrestling with a steady stream of ground-and-pound to wear out the Renzo Gracie black belt. Kennedy’s biggest asset in this fight is that patented Greg Jackson style that effortlessly grinds down fighters.
Rafael Natal: (17-4: 3 KO’s, 8 Subs)
The Gracie Fusion representative comes into this fight on a 3-fight win-streak, with his last win coming by way of unanimous decision over Tor Troeng at UFC Fight Night 28. Natal demonstrated a lot of improvement in the striking department in his last fight, as he was able to drop the Swede with a strong right hand. Natal’s biggest asset coming into this fight is definitely going to be his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is going to want to try to make this a ground war with Kennedy, where he will try to initiate scrambles and look for the submission.
It’s a no brainer that Natal is going to want to make this a ground war with Kennedy. Kennedy will be more than comfortable in this department, having faced two of the best modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the world, being Roger Gracie and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, while holding his own. Expect this fight to look similar to the Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie bout. Natal will find himself caught between a rock and a hard place, as he will be out struck on the feet and controlled on the mat.
My Prediction: Tim Kennedy via Unanimous Decision