Josh Koscheck (12-4) didn't take too kindly to the comparison that his style of fighting and background are very similar to that of Frank Trigg (19-6), but that's exactly what Frank Trigg did during the one-hour UFC 103 Countdown show that premiered on Monday night. Trigg stated that the showdown with Koscheck is comparable to fighting a "mirror image" of himself, only that Koscheck is a much younger, faster fighter. In true Koscheck fashion, he refused to accept the comparison and played the role of heel, a role that Frank Trigg has perfected in the past.
Interestingly enough, Frank Trigg wasn't far off in his comparison. Trigg was a four-time USA Wrestling All-American and a 2000 Olympic Trials finalist. Koscheck was the 2001 NCAA Division I wrestling champion in the 174 pound weight class while also becoming a four-time NCAA All-American in wrestling. Both Koscheck and Trigg have a vast amount of wrestling experience, but they are also a bit comparable in their striking games as well. Koscheck has only recently become an improved puncher, but it became noticeable in his battle with Dustin Hazelett at UFC 82. Trigg remains a solid stand-up fighter, but both men use their power in the striking department to crush opponents on the floor. Is the comparison that far off? Trigg may be right in that Koscheck is a younger, faster version of himself in comparison to his Trigg's first stint in the promotion.
That's where the big problems reside for Trigg in this fight however, and it's going to be a real mystery as to how he'll actually stack up to Koscheck until we see him in the cage. All indications point to a much improved Frank Trigg, but Koscheck isn't a slouch on the ground or in the stand-up department by any means. Trigg has stated that he's in the best shape of his life, and he has no doubt that he's much stronger than Koscheck. If this turns into a true wrestling match, it'll likely come in handy, although it's tough to see Trigg actually punishing Koscheck on the floor.
The reality of this fight is that Trigg has a track record of being beaten in the wrestling department, and Koscheck has the wrestling ability to truly punish him. Trigg does, however, have a good enough base to keep the fight standing if he works on his takedown defense. While Koscheck has improved his form in the striking department, he still tends to become a bit wild (i.e. Paulo Thiago) and leave himself open. Even in his bigger victories that ended by TKO, he was open for the counter, and Trigg could take advantage of those openings.
Trigg's age and history are probably the biggest reasons why Koscheck is a 3-to-1 favorite in this match-up, but I think Trigg only has one true area in which he can defeat Koscheck, the striking game. While Trigg doesn't have surgical strike ability, Koscheck's aggressive power punching could leave him open for a shot. If Koscheck takes a much more calculated approach, Trigg may need to try to put Koscheck on his back, but he'll no doubt find it very difficult. Koscheck has more ways to win here, but don't count Trigg completely out until we see what he has to offer in the first round. My gut tells me this doesn't look good for Trigg, but stranger outcomes have happened in the past.