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UFC 101 Preview: Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida

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In the fight game it's not often that you see a 6'6" middleweight. But that's exactly what MMA fans witnessed when we watched Kendall Grove win the middleweight portion of TUF season three. The 26 year old Hawaiian has had mixed results in the Octagon in the past couple of years but has stayed around because of the potential that he has shown. He comes into this fight on Saturday night riding a two fight win streak, having beaten Evan Tanner and Jason Day. Grove is a dangerous striker who has continued to work on improving his ground game and actually has more wins by submission than he does by KO. He brings a 10-5 record into this fight with 2 knockouts and 6 submissions to his credit. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced is 67.8% (source: Sherdog.com).

"The Big Dog" Ricardo Almeida makes his return to the Octagon after an April victory over former IFL fighter Matt Horwich. Ricardo has taken a lot of time away from the sport and has only recent returned to a somewhat active schedule. Almeida is slick on the ground and has a very calm and measured approach to the game. He has also shown himself to be fairly durable, having only been stopped once. Ricardo currently has a professional record of 10-3 with 4 wins coming by way of submission and all of the others coming by decision. The combined career winning percentage of the opponents that he has faced is 63.7%.

This is another good crossroads fight between two guys that could use a victory. I've read in a recent interview where Almeida is planning on dropping down to welterweight after this fight. I'm wondering if maybe he is looking past Grove just a bit. I think that we'll see a focused and patient Kendall Grove on Saturday that will be able to keep the fight standing. My prediction: Kendall Grove by knockout in the 2nd.

UFC 101: Declaration coverage