UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao features action in the Heavyweight division as veteran Cheick Kongo (17-7-2; 10-5-1 UFC) faces Shawn Jordan (13-3; 1-0 UFC). This is the 3rd of 5 fights on the PPV main card. Kongo is currently ranked as the #16 Heavyweight in the world in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, with Jordan unranked. The UFC 149 PPV card airs live Saturday night July 21 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Once again, this fight is a change from the original line-up. Kongo was originally set to face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on this show. However when Minotauro decided he would not be ready to return after his injury suffered at the hands of Frank Mir, he pulled out. Relative UFC newcomer Shawn Jordan stepped in as a replacement, which rather significantly downgrades the relevance of this fight. It now becomes either a place-holder for Kongo, or a chance for Jordan to make his name.
How do these two stack up?
Kongo: 37 years old | 6'4" | 82" reach
Jordan: 27 years old | 6'0" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Cheick Kongo has been in the UFC for 6 years now. And for virtually all of that time, he's occupied the same position - tough fighter who is just outside of title contention. He's a good kickboxer who learned that, by being competent on the ground, he can beat almost every other good kickboxer he faces. Except Mark Hunt, who knocked him out in Kongo's last outing. Prior to that fight, Kongo was on a 4 fight undefeated streak, which was the longest of his UFC career. Jordan is the kind of prospect Kongo has always taken out, but this is a real high risk, low reward fight for the French fighter. A win over Jordan does absolutely nothing for Kongo, while a loss sets him way back.
Shawn Jordan comes to the UFC courtesy of the now defunct (almost) Strikeforce Heavyweight division. There, he competed on Strikeforce Challengers cards, going 1-1 including a win over Lavar Johnson. He has past experience in Bellator, where he was 3-1, and the Louisiana regional scene. Jordan trains with Greg Jackson. He looked good in his UFC debut this spring, but is taking a huge step up the ladder here, and I'm not sure he's ready for it.
Why should you care?
Jordan is a decent striker, and if he brings the aggression against Kongo, we could have an exciting bout. But if he lets Kongo dictate the pace, the veteran will grind him down in a snoozer. I'm willing to roll the dice and see where this one goes.
More UFC 149 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.