There’s nothing quite like a heavyweight fight. Two monstrous men standing toe to toe, throwing heavy leather; it’s an exhilarating experience. Granted, you also run the risk of watching two exhausted behemoths plod around the cage, but the reward of true heavyweight brutality is always worth it.

Later today, June 6, 2015, heavyweight knockout machines Matt Mitrione and Ben Rothwell will look to provide fans with the kind of heavyweight tussle they so desire. Serving as the co-main event of the evening at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Mitrione and Rothwell will look to take a step towards becoming a contender in the wide open UFC heavyweight division.

Rothwell is a grizzled veteran coming off of back-to-back TKO victories and he is a dangerous opponent for anyone. But he has always been more of a gatekeeper than a contender and that is exactly the role the UFC is expecting him to fill in this bout.

Mitrione is a marketable fighter with great charisma. But at 36, his window is closing and Rothwell is just the type of win he needs to prove he is finally ready for the best the division has to offer.

Defend the Takedown

Rothwell is a big powerful fighter who can knock anyone out, but his biggest weapon heading into this bout is his ground game. Rothwell has a solid wrestling base and a better than advertised choke game from the top. Mitrione does not want this mountain of a man on top of him. Mitrione needs to keep the fight standing. There he can utilize his athletic gifts.

Keep the Distance

Even though Mitrione will be at a disadvantage in terms of reach Rothwell likes to do his work on the inside; where he can use his size and mass to wear opponents down. Mitrione needs to utilize a crisp jab and leg kicks to keep Rothwell on the outside. Mitrione has the tools to do damage, but he can’t afford to let Rothwell hang all over him.

Utilize his Movement

Mitrione is one of the most athletically gifted heavyweights in the UFC today; even at 36. A former professional football player, Mitrione has a blend of size, speed and power few can match. While his fight game is still catching up with his athletic gifts, those gifts will be what gets him to the next level in the UFC heavyweight division. Rothwell isn’t known for his ability to move; he’s a bear who simply wants to maul people. Mitrione needs to dictate the pace and distance and he needs to keep Rothwell off balance with his movement.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.