UFC 47: It’s On! Preview

Wesley Correira vs. Mike Kyle

Mar 30, 2004
Heavyweight Bout: Wesley “Cabbage” Correira vs. Mike “The Stalker” Kyle

WESLEY CORREIRA: Hawaiian native striker, judo brown belt, boxer, jiu-jitsu practitioner, Superbrawl veteran, RINGS USA veteran, Shogun veteran, Rumble on the Rock veteran, trains with B.J. Penn in Hilo and Falaniko Vitale and Egan Inoue at Grappling Unlimited, with a record of 20-4 in MMA, making his 4th appearance (2-1) in the UFC.

Abbreviated Fight History: Correira is an island fighter who went through the local tough guys easily. He only recently thought about the sport as a profession and now when he fights, he fights for Hawaii, to represent his homeland. He began fighting in the Superbrawl shows and was part of the short-lived RINGS USA event when part of the tournament took place in Hawaii. From 2000 to 2002, he was a regular on Superbrawl cards and has gone back to fight there twice since debuting in the octagon at UFC 39. With wins over Sean Alvarez and “Tank” Abbott in back-to-back UFC appearances, a title shot can only be a bout or two away for him now. Correira/Eric Pele: In the RINGS USA Rising Stars tournament Correira battled heavy hitter Eric Pele from John Lewis’ Vale Tudo Team. Pele was able to submit him but the stand-up battle pushed Eric to his limits.

Correira/Aaron Brink: He had his biggest challenge at the Shogun show facing Team Punishment heavyweight prospect and UFC veteran Aaron Brink. Correira met force with force and took it to Brink, rocking him with a left hand to the head and sent him into the side of the cage.

Correira/Tim Sylvia: This bout had slugfest written all over it from the opening bell. It will probably be a clear pick for most people as the best match of the show. Correira had and opportunity early where he appeared to have shaken up Sylvia but Tim only let him have one. Sylvia was in control and showed more technique and better defense than Correira. If Cabbage actually tried to block a punch with more than his head, the bout might’ve actually gone the distance. Correira was unintentionally fingered in the eye in the second round and dealing with that while Sylvia was trying to rip his head off was too much. The referee stopped the bout because Cabbage was not defending himself but Correira never went down.

Correira/Sean Alvarez: Correira looked better here than against Sylvia. Alvarez is a ground fighter and only uses his stand-up (which has been improving) to get the fight to the mat. His problem here was he couldn’t take Correira down. He spent the fight working for the big takedown and when he got it, he was too spent to be able to control him. Cabbage stood up, unloaded some left hands and knees and his night was over.

Correira/David Abbott: “Tank” pushes the action to start but just appears to be flailing his arms. “Cabbage” catches him with a short left to the head followed by a knee dropping Abbott to a knee. As “Tank” goes for the takedown, Correira misses with another knee but lands a hook to the head. Abbott holds on and regains his senses on the side of the cage. From a Thai clinch “Cabbage” is able to control “Tank” and though Abbott is still connecting, some of his strikes are brushed off. The knees and hooks from “Cabbage” continue and “Tank” is bloodied. Abbott continues to fight back but much of the steam is gone from his strikes. With two minutes gone, the cut is examined and the bout is stopped. The trademark “Cabbage Patch Dance” sets off a minor riot as John Marsh, Eddie Ruiz and other members of Abbott’s posse mix with Chuck Liddell and others who came to break up the conflict. Also worthy of note, Correira faced: Travis Fulton (loss/submission), Travis Wiuff (win/submission), Marcelo Tigre (win/Disqualification), Kauai Kupihea (win/TKO) and Justin Eilers (win/decision)

Strengths And Weaknesses: Correira’s main strength is standing, He has decent boxing skills but is by no means a boxer. He’s hard to bring down and keep down. And of course, there’s his head. That large melon of his is very hard and resilient. He also has a huge heart. You have to really pound him to get any kind of reaction out of him. As for weaknesses, he doesn’t defend the punch, he just takes it. He eats it and is determined to hit you with one better. Correira’s ground game is still developing but he has good striking skills and a reputation for absorbing a lot of damage. In fact the key to Wesley’s impressive record is his ability to dish it out even better than he can take it.

How He Can Beat Kyle: Go toe-to-toe with him. He could bring him to the ground but that’s not really Correira’s game either. If Cabbage can get in close using speed and combinations and work his uppercuts in tight, he may be able to tag him and eventually through accumulation pull out the win.

MIKE KYLE: American striker, Muay Thai kickboxer, jiu-jitsu practitioner, King of the Cage veteran, World Extreme Cagefighting veteran, IFC veteran, Gladiator Challenge veteran, Night of the Knockouts veteran, had been training with Primal Tribe and is currently training with Tim Lajcik, Steve Camarillo, Richard Crunkilton, Paul Buentello, Josh Thomson, Bob Cook, Javier Mendez and the fighters of the American Kickboxing Academyformerly known as “MAK”, with a record of 10-2 in MMA, making his 1st appearance in the UFC.

Abbreviated Fight History: Kyle was playing football for East Oregon University before moving on to fighting. The defensive end and fullback didn’t have much time to train for fights but became a part of the Primal Tribe in Boise Idaho. After his KOTC 18: Sudden Impact bout with Paul Buentello, he was courted by the American Kickboxing Academy camp and made the move to California. There he improved hisAKA fighters Josh Thomson and Tim Lajcik adopted Mike and put him through the trenches to prepare him for his UFC debut.

Kyle/Kauai Kupihea: At Night of the Knockouts 2 in 2001Kyle was able to stop Hawaiian brawler and KOTC 10 tournament Kauai Kupihea with strikes in the second round.

Kyle/Daniel Bobish: Bobish rushed in for the takedown and tried to walk through Kyle’s strikes to bring him to the mat but he was met with force. They exchanged inside but it was Kyle who was landing the cleaner strikes. Mike delivered a left hook and some knees to the head and Bobish looked to be in trouble but “The Bull” executed a rarely seen fireman’s carry to get out from under “MAK”. Kyle maintained his balance by grabbing the side of the cage and both fighters take a moment to regain their composure. A striking display ensues, dominated by Kyle, with Bobish looking rocked. Dan brings it to the fence in a clinch and lands a solid right hand. Both fighters are throwing bombs and Kyle’s uppercuts seem to be doing most of the damage. With two minutes gone, Bobish motions to his eye and gets a time stoppage to assess the damage. Whether he was legitimately poked or not is hard to tell but his eye was definitely struck and looked puffy. The fighters continue and Bobish moves forward to end it. Kyle creates space and tags Bobish with his uppercut and overhand right but Dan is using his head and body to pin the pair to the fence. Kyle catches a short right hand that brings him to the mat and Bobish follows him down. With Dan sitting on top throwing lefts and rights, referee Larry Landless stops the bout when Kyle cannot verbally answer his questions.

Kyle/Paul Buentello: Kyle came out more aggressive and gave Buentello fits with his superior reach. Mike had trouble with Paul’s combination punches and was rocked late in the first round. In the second period, Kyle went after Buentello’s legs and was striking effectively until Paul dropped a straight right hand on Mike’s jaw. “The Headhunter” followed with a left hook that put Kyle down and the bout was over.
Also worthy of note, Kyle faced: Jerry Vrbanovic (win/KO)

Strengths And Weaknesses: Kyle is a good stand-up fighter and has taken all of his opponents with strikes. He throws accurate combination punches inside and has a solid uppercut with KO intentions. At 6’4 and 240lbs, he’s large and quick. His time at AKA has been spent improving his groundgame with Tim Lacjik but his grappling would still have to be considered his weakness.

How He Can Beat Correira: Change the pace of the fight periodically. If he keeps it on the feet then goes to the floor, then escapes back to the feet and back and forth, he may tire out the large Hawaiian and it could present him with an opportunity to finish him.

MY PICK: Correira. If Kyle keeps it standing, it will be over early. His stand-up is excellent but it would take a roll of quarters in his glove to crack the melon on Wesley. Maybe even a back of Coke cans ala Sean Penn in “Bad Boys”. With that being the case, Kyle may be in for a painful debut in the octagon. I feel it will be Correira by TKO from strikes in the 2nd Rd.

DOWN THE ROAD:

Kyle/Ron Waterman: Kyle is already focused on getting the WEC heavyweight title from Waterman and it is a solid match-up of striker vs. grappler.

Kyle/Andre Arlovski: This one doesn’t need much build up does it? Just imagine the fireworks here.

Correira/Mirko Filipovic: Just the sound of that brings a smile to my face. Would “Cabbage” be able to stop the roundhouses to the head better than “Cro Cop” would stop the knees to the face? Let’s find out.

Correira/Tim Sylvia: Title fight or simply a rema, tch? Who cares - it is a guaranteed brawl.

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