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UFC 96: Preview and Predicting Kendall Grove vs. Jason Day

If you’ve been checking out FiveOuncesOfPain.com all week then you are well aware of an interview UFC President Dana White gave to USA Today in which he essentially puts Kendall Grove on notice.

Grove, the middleweight winner from the third season of The Ultimate Fighter is just 1-2 in his last three fights and likely needs a win tonight to remain employed by the UFC. Does he have a shot at winning? Continue reading our fight-by-fight preview of UFC 96 and find out what we think.

Kendall Grove (9-5) vs. Jason Day (17-7)

If the temptation of Vegas are so great and interferes with a fighter’s career, then why do so many fighters train there?

Alright, having been to Sin City nearly 20 times in my life, that’s an easy question to answer. Only being young once creates the conundrum for athlete: do I invest my time living the life, or do I fully commit to athletic excellence?

In MMA, there is a term known as “The MMA Lifestyle,” which consists of working hard but also playing hard. For Kendall Grove, he has publicly admitted that temptation got in the way of his career.

After winning becoming the middleweight winner of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, Grove showed rapid signs of improvement every time he took to the cage. But then he suffered back-to-back upset first round knockouts against Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera and his career went spiraling out of control.

A split decision win in the main event of the TUF 7 finale this past June against the late Evan Tanner likely saved his UFC career, but Grove can ill-afford to drop the ball against Jason Day.

Soon after the win over Tanner, Grove requested an extended layoff from fighting in anticipation of the birth of his first child. Hopefully the live changing experience will keep Grove away from partying and keep him focused on fighting.

While not as good as Cote, Day is certainly better than Rivera and has the ability needed to reduce Grove’s record to 1-3 in his last four fights. However, Grove has significantly better submissions and his 6’6” height gives him a ridiculous reach advantage when it comes to the standup aspect of the fight.

Like Grove, Day has not fought since June due to injury. Currently sporting a lifetime record of 1-1 in the UFC, the Canadian fighter made a strong Octagon debut last April at UFC 83 after scoring a first round TKO over Alan Belcher. However, he looked completely overmatched against Michael Bisping at UFC 85, losing via first round TKO.

Day won’t be overmatched vs. Grove, however, if Grove brings his A-game, he should have little trouble walking away with his arm raised.

Prediction: Grove via unanimous decision.

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