The UFC 143 event has an interesting battle between top ten welterweight Josh Koscheck and challenger Mike Pierce this Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. These two were originally scheduled to fight in 2010, but injuries to other fighters forced the UFC to scrap that bout to fill holes on other events. Mike Pierce publicly called out Koscheck for this fight, citing that he has been ducking him every since. Let’s see how this one will go down.
Mike Pierce comes into this fight with a career record of (13-4) with six wins via TKO/KO and one submission to his credit. He was last seen in action winning a split decision over previously unbeaten Paul Bradley at the UFC on FOX 1 show last November. Pierce is (4-2) in his last six fights with the two losses coming against top ten welterweights Johny Hendricks and Jon Fitch. Pierce comes from a wrestling background training out of the Team Quest camp out in Oregon.
Josh Koscheck comes into this fight with a career record of (16-5) with five wins via TKO/KO and five wins via submission. Koscheck was last see in action taking out former welterweight champion Matt Hughes via TKO at UFC 135. Koscheck had been out of action for nearly 9 months recovering from a broken orbital bone which took place in his title fight against Georges St. Pierre in December 2010. Koscheck’s amateur background is heavily documented, but he has improved is striking over the years and nowadays he tends to prefer to strike instead of wrestle his opponents.
Bet on Fighting has Koscheck as the betting favorite at (-245) and Pierce as the underdog at (+195).
Those odds are pretty much where they should be at this point. I would probably place a small wager on Pierce here because he’s the best wrestler that Koscheck outside of Georges St. Pierre.
This fight will come down to whether or Pierce can impose his will on Josh Koscheck. As I mentioned earlier, Koscheck has become reliant on sheer power in his strikes to win fights instead of his wrestling in the majority of his fights over the last couple of years. However, some of that can be attributed to the styles of his opponents in the UFC. He used his wrestling against the two fighters that posed a threat to him standing, but preferred to strike against everyone else that were primarily grapplers. He’ll have to defend takedowns in this fight against Pierce, and possibly use his wrestling to take him down as most wrestlers are not comfortable on their backs. Koscheck has improved his ability to create angles while standing and has added a nice uppercut to his arsenal, so he’ll need to use the aggressiveness of Pierce against him.
Koscheck has been praised for his wrestling pedigree being that he’s a former college national champion. However, Pierce fought John Hendricks to a split decision, and Hendricks was a former two time national champion in wrestling. That simply means that Pierce has been there and down that against someone comparable to Koscheck, while giving Hendricks a very tough fight and even taking him down once. Pierce is he naturally larger fighter and needs to make this an ugly fight by closing the distance and putting Koscheck against the cage, and working to take him down from there or scoring in the clinch. Koscheck likes to throw that huge looping overhand right, so if Pierce can avoid getting clipped with that he should be ok. He’ll just have to get back to his feet in the event that Koscheck does take him to the mat.
I really think Pierce can pull off the upset here. Koscheck has become really one dimensional and isn’t the most polished of strikers. He was actually getting outstruck by Matt Hughes before clipping Hughes with a big punch finally putting him away. Pierce has enough power to hurt Koscheck standing, and of course we saw Paulo Thiago put Koscheck away in the past.
My heart is saying Pierce, but my mind is saying Koscheck. Check back for staff picks later this week for the pick!
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