In the featured prelim of UFC 259, we will see the return of arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. Former world champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3) will be making his return against up and comer, Casey Kenney (16-2-1).
For Dominick Cruz, this will be the second time that he’s fought in the last 12 months. However, those two fights were his only two fights since December of 2016. Injuries have completely derailed the career of Cruz.
In 2011, Dominick Cruz was the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion. He had just defended the title twice before the injury bug started to bite him. Since in 2012, Dominick Cruz has only fought five times. In eight years, we have only seen Cruz five times inside the octagon.
Yes, during those five fights he came back and won a UFC title as well as defend it. However, the inactivity has just killed Cruz’s career. Cruz is now 35 years old, and he’s looking to get back on track with a win on Saturday night, but it won’t be easy.
Casey Kenney has been very impressive since his signing with the UFC. Since making the jump from LFA, Kenney is 5-1 with his lone loss coming against Merab Dvalishvili who just outwrestled him for fifteen minutes.
Kenney will enter the featured prelim on Saturday having won three fights in a row. He is just outside of the top fifteen, but if he wins against Dominick Cruz, you should expect him to be in the UFC rankings next week.
UFC 259 Prediction
To me, this is one of the more difficult fights to predict when it comes to the UFC 259 lineup. The reason it’s so difficult is the question marks surrounding Dominick Cruz. I really don’t know what to expect from him on Saturday night.
Is Dominick Cruz going to look like The Dominator of the past, or is he going to look like a shell of his former self? These are questions that we need answers to. When Cruz is on, he’s one of the most difficult fighters to face in the entire UFC.
Cruz’s footwork and technique are so unique and make him very challenging to prepare for. He has great wrestling defense and his awkward movement and striking are incredibly effective when he’s on point.
Casey Kenney has very good wrestling and he’s got a lot of pop in his shots. His kicks are also very good and that could be key for him at UFC 259. With Dominick Cruz, you have to attack his legs and his movement.
For Casey Kenney to be successful on Saturday night, he has to invest in the leg kicks early. If you take away Cruz’s movement, he becomes much more beatable. However, if Kenney can’t get going downhill with those kicks, he might struggle to get his offense going.
With the movement and style of Cruz, it’s appealing to judges because there is so much activity to watch. With that said, Kenney is going to have to decisively win rounds in this one.
Despite the question marks surrounding Cruz, I think he’s going to be able to do enough to earn a decision in the judges eyes at UFC 259. However, if Cruz shows up anything less than close to his best, than he’s in for another loss.
Prediction: Dominick Cruz by Unanimous Decision