One to Watch: Michael Kuiper / UFC 143 | Fighters.com

One to Watch: Michael Kuiper / UFC 143

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A great number of UFC debuts are scheduled to take place in the early part of 2012. Some as last minute replacements, and some as long awaited debuts. We’ve now reached the final of four consecutive Saturdays featuring UFC events. My original plan was to recommend one “can’t miss” debut of each event, however, it seems like my picks have ended up with a bit of bad luck. Antonio Carvalho lost and my next pick was injured, thus leading us to UFC 143. Here is hoping my final exciting debut goes a bit better than the first couple of goes at it!

Tonight’s One to Watch is Michael Kuiper (who fights Rafael Natal)

Check Out the UFC Countdown Special for UFC 143

Kuiper enters the middleweight division cut from a similar cloth to UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald – a young and flashy multi-disciplined fighter from the newest generation of MMA training. Only 22, Kuiper has eleven victories to his name with only one decision. Despite a combination BJJ and Judo background, Kuiper’s speed and crisp striking make him as dangerous standing as on the ground.

He draws BJJ blackbelt Natal who, after entering the UFC to much fanfare, has looked far from impressive en route to a 1-1-1 record in the Octagon. In Kuiper he draws somebody who will take the fight to him right away and won’t be afraid to challenge him on the ground. Kuiper has ridiculously fast hands, and that speed gives him the striking edge over Natal. Many of Kuiper’s wins have come by fast, and hard hitting knockouts, showing experience of somebody well beyond his years.

Natal will have to take the fight to the ground early, and hope that his advanced grappling will be enough to subdue the Dutch fighter. Natal does have good striking prowess, Otherwise, a loss to Kuiper could send him out of the UFC.

You can catch their fight on the Facebook prelims starting at 7:00 PM EST. The main card will take place live on PPV from Las Vegas, featuring a main event for the Interim Welterweight Championship between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC


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