Rafael Natal and Michael Kuiper face off at the UFC 143 weigh-ins. (Photo: Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com)
The UFC introduces another new fighter into the fray as young middleweight prospect Michael Kuiper (11-0) makes his Octagon debut at UFC 143 against veteran Rafael Natal (13-3-1, 1-1-1 UFC) in the evening's second bout.
While not a sexy fight, there are some elements that could make this quite entertaining.
How do these two stack up?
Natal: 29 years old | 77" reach | 6'0"
Kuiper: 22 years old | 6'0"
What have these two done recently?
Natal has won four of his last five, defeating Paul Bradley by unanimous decision at last August's UFC 133. The Netherlands-born Kuiper will make his U.S. debut after running up a perfect record fighting in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. He last competed nearly nine months ago, knocking out Morris Cilfoni in the first round.
What else should you know?
Natal has been around the MMA block with 17 pro fights in various organizations, but hasn't made an impact in the UFC with three largely forgettable performances. Before signing with the UFC, he had finished opponents in five straight victories. Kuiper is an interesting sign by the UFC as he's just 22 years old and has finished 10 of his 11 opponents. He's also a black belt in judo and has shown he can submit opponents as easily as he can knock them out.
Natal may have an advantage if the fight goes the distance as Kuiper has just one career decision with six fights never getting out of the first round.
Why should you care?
By name value alone, this fight isn't exciting anyone, but if Natal takes some risks in going for finishes and Kuiper continues to display the skill set he's used thus far in his near three-year career, this could be a lot more entertaining than most expect.
How can I watch?
Facebook at approximately 7:30 PM EST
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