A chance to conquer the Garden of Eden: Pilò vs. Kennedy
On Saturday, August 18th, the Italian Danyel Pilò will face the former UFC fighter from Canada Jeremy “JBC” Kennedy in the main event of Brave FC 14. The event will take place in Tangier, Morocco: according to ancient Greek mythology the Garden of Eden was located in this city.
The fight will be contested in the featherweight division (145 lbs). In the Italian rankings of this weight class, Pilò is considered #2.
The 25-year-old Jeremy Kennedy (11-1) has captured more than half of his wins (6) via decision. In the UFC, where he made his debut in 2016, he fought 4 times scoring 3 victories, all by points, and 1 defeat (the first in his career) suffered last February against Alexander Volkanovski.
At that point his contract expired, and Dana White’s promotion told him it would take a few months before he would be offered a new deal. In the meantime Brave FC contacted him and Kennedy, hungry for redemption, immediately accepted the offer from the Middle Eastern organization. His debut for the promotion will be against Pilò.
Overall, the last 5 wins of the Canadian have come by decision. Previously he won by KO/TKO in 3 occasions, and by submission in 2 (however, in both cases, we are talking about 4-5 years ago).
Kennedy is a complete fighter. In his matches he often tries to take the fight to the ground: as a matter of fact, he is a purple belt in BJJ and a NAGA (North American Grappling Association) champion, besides being a strong wrestler. However he is also a dangerous striker: his Muay Thai is very good. He has a longer reach than Pilò by almost 3 inches, and in a recent interview he stated that he expects to win the match by stoppage in the first round.
In the only defeat he suffered, the talented Canadian had trouble with his opponent’s effective defense of his takedown attempts. Afterwards Volkanovski worked really well against the cage and then took “JBC” down and unleashed some furious ground and pound to finish the match.
Danyel Pilò (10-1-2) is a more mature athlete, since he is 30 years old. This will be his first international experience in MMA, but he is aware that he has a great opportunity in front of him, probably a possible turning point in his career.
He is coming off a convincing victory against Dragan Pesic at The Golden Cage 2, after a 1-year layoff, has won 6 of his last 7 matches, and is on a 4-fight winning streak, all by stoppage. His only defeat came back in 2015, in the final of the “Venator FC – Guerrieri Italiani (Italian Warriors)” tournament, against Ouadia Tergui.
As opposed to Kennedy, Pilò is a fighter that tends not to leave the verdict in the hands of the judges: it’s only happened to him on 2 occasions. The rest of his victories have been captured, in equal measure, by KO/TKO and by submission. Therefore our compatriot is a solid athlete himself, and can rely on his striking as well as his grappling to win the match.
It’s difficult to point out a single key-factor in this matchup. The Italian will have to try to close the distance to hit “JBC”, but at the same time he’ll probably need to defend his opponent’s takedown attempts, without wasting too much energy in the process. If he’ll be able to stifle the Canadian’s attacks, Pilò could find the right opportunity to turn the match in his favor, perhaps closing the fight with some ground and pound like he did against Pesic, thus ensuring him a prestigious win.