Kevin Burns (10-3) vs. T.J. Grant (14-3): Tough as coffin nails 170ers meet in what’s probably a loser leaves town fight.
Burns made a good first impression in his UFC debut, when he, a BJJ blue belt then, choked out a highly regarded BJJ black belt Roan Carneiro. After the successful debut things have not gone well for Mr Burns. First he had that infamous bout with Rumble Johnson, which Burns “won” by poking AJ’s brain through his eye. Instant rematch with AJ was of course next in line and this time Burns paid a heavy price for that eye poke as Rumble almost decapitated him in the third round with an awesome high kick. After the two fights with AJ, Burns dropped a decision to a legit welterweight gatekeeper in Chris Lytle. Burns was pretty bloodied up in that fight, but never gave up. It’s also good to remember that Burns battled pretty evenly on the feet for about eight rounds with Johnson and Lytle, who are considered top strikers in the UFC WW division.
Like Burns the canadian grappler TJ Grant made also a promising UFC debut at UFC 97 when he managed eak out a split decision over UFC/PRIDE vet Ryo “the dude who flying heelhooked Spider Silva” Chonan. In the fight against Chonan, Grant displayed awesome wrestling mixed with exceptionally active and smooth guard work. Grant’s second and latest UFC fight was at UFC 100 when he lost to Stun Gun Kim by majority decision. Grant was unable to takedown the skilled judoka and couldn’t control or sweep him from the bottom. It wasn’t a poor performance, but showed that Grant is at the moment somewhat one-dimensional.
Prediction: this is a good match up between tough, relentless up-n-comers. Burns has the advantage on the feet added with a reach advantage, while Grant has a strong wrestling base and a very dynamic ground game. I think Grant will control early on with superior wrestling, but the tide will turn in the midway and Burns will take over. Burns by TKO strikes R3.