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UFC Vegas 22: Max Griffin vs Song Kenan Preview and Prediction

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The UFC’s third event of March will be headlined by Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland, a much-anticipated middleweight clash with important implications. However, there are plenty of other great matchups to round out the main card, including a very fun fight in the welterweight division. Max Griffin vs Song Kenan is a clash of styles for two men at very opposite points in their UFC careers. One in desperate need of a win having lost four of his last six bouts, and the other looking to make it three wins in a row. Join us as we preview this bout and discuss the paths to victory!

Max Griffin vs Song Kenan: Meet the Fighters

Max “Pain” Griffin

Max Griffin
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 07: Max Griffin reacts after his victory over Ramiz Brahimaj in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Max Griffin enters UFC Vegas 22 with a chip on his shoulder. Debuting in the UFC back in 2016 as a highly touted prospect in the welterweight division, Griffin has had a very back-and-forth ride thus far within the organization. Holding a record of 16-8-0 (4-6-0 UFC), it is safe to say the once prospect has now turned into a seasoned UFC veteran. In his debut fight, Griffin would find himself up against Colby Covington. While this may have been before Covington became such a prominent name within the division, the skillset was there all along and Covington defeated Griffin convincingly by stopping him in the third round via TKO.

Ever since Griffin’s debut in the UFC, he has fought a variety of opponents ranging from young up-and-comers, crafty vets, and everything in between. Griffin would have a bit of a bounce-back following his debut loss by winning two of his next three bouts. One including a war with Mike Perry, where Griffin really showed his elusive striking and quick movement to avoid most of Perry’s haymakers. Since this bout in 2018, we have only seen Griffin come out victorious two other times. These being against the likes of Zelim Imadaev and Ramiz Brahimaj in his last trip to the octagon.

In his losses during this stretch, Griffin has faced opponents such as Thiago Alves, Alex Morono, and Alex Oliveira. All being veterans of the fight game who have been there and done that. Plus, for what it is worth, two of these losses came via split decisions in razor-close bouts. Griffin is quite literally two judges’ scorecards away from having a 6-4 record in the UFC rather than the opposite. However, that isn’t how it works in the fight game. Griffin has shown his toughness and grit in every fight, no matter the outcome, and never counts himself out. This is something we all can respect about any fighter, win or lose.

Griffin will need this same mentality at UFC Vegas 22 as he will face a heavy hitter in Song Kenan. While Griffin is no stranger to throwing leather in the octagon, the power here is a serious threat and it will be interesting to see how Griffin will look to attack. One thing is certain, Griffin will come out ready to get his hand raised at all costs.

Song “The Assassin” Kenan

Song Kenan
SHANGHAI, CHINA – NOVEMBER 25: Song Kenan of China celebrates after his knockout victory over Bobby Nash in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 25, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Chinese-born Song Kenan has shown his power in nearly every fight he has had in his career thus far. With a record of 16-5-0 (4-1-0 UFC), 14 of these wins have come via finish. It is clear why Kenan will now be taking on his toughest opponent inside the octagon yet at UFC Vegas 22. Not to mention, Kenan likes to get in and get out, because 10 of his 14 finishes have come in the first round. This includes his UFC debut where he viciously TKO’d Bobby Nash in just fifteen seconds!

Following his debut, Kenan would go on to win another bout via TKO against Hector Aldana as the second round was coming to a close. His other two victories inside the octagon came against Derrick Krantz and Callan Potter, via unanimous decision and KO respectively. His lone loss came against Morono, who has defeated both men.

Kenan is now making his return to the octagon for the first time in over a year against Griffin. With a win here at UFC Vegas 22, Kenan will be riding a three-fight win streak and potentially be just one or two more wins away from having a number next to his name in this stacked welterweight division. The big question being, is Kenan ready for this jump in competition? You may think the answer is an obvious choice given Griffin’s UFC record, but as mentioned, don’t let the numbers fool you! Griffin is as tough as they come and will no doubt be Kenan’s biggest test in his UFC career.

We could talk more about his UFC career, but this is our excuse to bring up the fact that one of Kenan’s five losses came back in 2015 to the current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. This came in Adesanya’s third-ever professional MMA fight, before either fighter joined the UFC. Kind of a big deal! Oh, and while we are at it, Kenan has also been defeated by Brad Riddell, who takes on Gregor Gillespie in the UFC Vegas 22 co-main event! So while Griffin doubles Kenan in UFC bouts, the level of competition overall is quite even, if not favoring Kenan more. All of these factors leave us with an exciting fight to break down!

Max Griffin vs Song Kenan Fight Breakdown

First and foremost, get prepared for a standup war. Both of these men love to sling it out, in two very different ways. Griffin has shown himself to be very quick and light on his feet. He throws lightning-fast jabs that over the course of fifteen minutes really pick apart his opponents. Kenan, on the other hand, is very patient and loves to sit back to land the perfect shot. His right hand is deadly and if it lands flush on the chin, any opponent is going to the canvas.

Both fighters have shown weaknesses inside the octagon, sharing similar losses to Morono as mentioned earlier. However, neither man got outclassed under any circumstance. This matchup is a toss-up because it may just depend on who shows up to deliver and who doesn’t. Griffin and Kenan have both shown they are vulnerable to being hit as well. That doesn’t bode well for either man in this fight, considering it will more than likely play out entirely in the striking realm. However, that also gives us the ingredients for a potential battle of wills.

Now, we can’t do a fight breakdown without at least mentioning the possibility of the bout going to the ground. If it does, expect the more well-rounded athlete in Griffin to hold the upper hand here. He has shown his takedown capabilities before, more so to just throw out the threat of it so his opponents have more than just jabs and kicks to worry about. Griffin is very quick and agile, so the takedowns should be there if he chooses to pursue this route.

Either way, expect this fight to go three rounds, as both have shown their toughness in every fight and their ability to not waiver too badly in the deep waters. Could this be the Fight of the Night? We believe the answer is yes, but it will come down to the patience of Kenan and the aggressiveness of Griffin. Their opposite striking styles may just present us with a very slow-paced bout, but on the other end of the spectrum, it could deliver a banger of a fight!

Max Griffin vs Song Kenan Prediction: Song Kenan via Unanimous Decision

Let us know your predictions for Max Griffin vs Song Kenan in the comments below!


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Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images and Embed from Getty Images

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Dominic Sallee is a Combat Sports writer. He focuses primarily on the UFC, with plans to venture out with pieces from other MMA organizations in the future. Along with writing, Dominic is also the Co-Host of the Below Average Joe's MMA Podcast, which produces 2-3 new episodes per week about all things in the MMA community!