Kurt Pellegrino comes into UFC 101 looking to push the pace with an aggressive wrestling attack. Look for Kurt to try and land an early takedown and work some ground and pound on his hard punching opponent. The 30 year old New Jersey native is coming off of two consecutive UFC wins over Thiago Tavares (by decision) and Rob Emerson (by submission) and is hoping to make good on an excellent opportunity in Philadelphia on Saturday night. Pellegrino is 13-4 with 2 wins coming by way of knockout and 9 wins coming by way of submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that Pellegrino has faced is 64.6% (source: Sherdog.com).
Josh "The Dentist" Neer is a guy that has fought some sturdy competition on the minor league circuit on his way to the big show. Neer has a reputation as being a strong puncher for the lightweight division but a close look at his record reveals that he is a balanced fighter. In his most recent fight, Neer finished TUF season 6 winner Mac Danzig bys submission in the second round. Neer is one of those guys that seems to have been around for quite awhile, but the guy is only 26 years old! Josh has compiled a record of 25-7-1 with 10 wins coming by way of knockout and 11 wins by submission. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that Neer has faced is 64.2%.
I like the matchmaking here by Joe Silva. This is a great opportunity for both fighters to separate themselves as a player in the UFC's talent-rich lightweight division. This is a tough one to call as both guys have looked solid in recent outings. It wouldn't surprise me to see Pellegrino get this one to the mat. Once there, however, he'll need to stay busy and do some quality work because the longer the match is contested with the fighters standing, the better the chances for Neer, in my opinion. My prediction: Kurt Pellegrino by decision.