Tim Kennedy will be facing a stern challenge this coming Saturday night when he steps inside the Octagon against Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero at UFC 178.
Kennedy, riding a four-fight win streak, knows he has a tremendous opportunity in this contest to improve his standing in the packed middleweight division.
Now, Kennedy (18-4) just has to execute his plan of attack – which consists of one thing.
“I’ve got to put pressure on him from start to finish,” said Kennedy, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “He’s super talented when he can dictate how he wants the fight to go. I can’t let him do that. He’ll want range, be explosive and close the distance and dictate timing, but I’m going to be in his face bell-to-bell looking for a finish at every single moment in the fight.”
Kennedy is coming off a decisive decision victory over Michael Bisping this past April after knocking out Rafael Natal last November. He opened his UFC career with a decision win over Roger Gracie.
Despite constantly feeling the label of underdog, the Army Ranger is determined to prove people wrong.
“It seems like people say that every time. People said that about my last fight with Bisping, but I destroyed him for five rounds,” he said. “Then they said that about Roger Gracie, and I murdered him on the ground. This is no different. I’m fighting a very, very talented athlete and gifted wrestler.”
Romero (8-1) in on a similar four-fight win streak that includes finishes of Derek Brunson, Ronny Markes and Clifford Starks. In April, he scored a decision over Brad Tavares. Competing for Cuba, he won silver at 85kg in the 2000 Summer Olympics and is a former gold medalist at both the World Championships and Pan American Games.
“I don’t think I’ll have a problem taking him down. I don’t care where the fight goes,” Kennedy said. “I want to beat him on the feet. I’m a much more technical striker. I have very good head defense. If he tries to use his wrestling, I’m good enough to stop his takedowns. I want to beat him up on our feet.”