Fans attending UFC 241 in Anaheim will be treated to a duel of top bantamweight prospects, as Casey Kenney (12-1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will fight Manny Bermudez (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) on the prelims.
Kenney sees the fight as such, as he acknowledged Bermudez’s flawless record as a feat in itself.
Casey Kenney vs. Manny Bermudez
He views Bermudez as a tough fighter who’s good at submitting people. After all, he’s finished 11 of his professional wins via submission, including all three of his Octagon victories. However, Kenney’s confident in his submission defense and grappling. He feels that will be enough to help him secure the win.
“I’m going to take him into deep waters if I need to, and I’m going to light him up on our feet,” Kenney told MMASucka. “I’ll try to give him an all-around MMA ass-kicking.”
Kenney believes Bermudez will try and stand with him for a few minutes until he feels his power. After that, he thinks Bermudez will shoot a takedown and look for a submission.
“That’s where my grappling comes in,” Kenney said. “If I decide to take it to the ground, I feel pretty comfortable there, too. He’s a dangerous guy with his submissions, but I feel pretty comfortable everywhere. We’ll see how the fight plays out. I’m looking for the knockout.”
Being an Underdog
Kenney is only a slight underdog betting-wise, coming in at even money. However, 88 percent of 1,000 Tapology users picked Bermudez to win. Among those backing Bermudez, 74 percent feel that he’ll submit Kenney.
“That’s okay, I like being the underdog,” he said. “I was a guy who was supposed to win for so long. I came in against Ray Borg as an underdog. I’m probably an even bigger underdog now. Shine bright, that’s what I do. I like having my back up against the wall. Being the underdog, it lets go against some of the pressure. I’m just going to go out there and be myself.”
Kenney fought Borg in his UFC debut back in March and won a tightly-contested unanimous decision. Borg had just fought Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight title and was making his UFC bantamweight debut. Naturally, the win over Borg was a confidence booster for Kenney.
“I always knew that I belonged with some the best in the world. To go out there and do it under the circumstances, and the fact that Ray Borg’s last fight had been for the belt. At 125 and 135, he’s definitely a top guy out there. You can talk the talk, but walking the walk with the best in the world is sometimes a different story.”
Kenney regards Bermudez as one of his toughest opponents yet. Kenney entered the UFC as the interim flyweight and interim bantamweight champion of LFA, so between that competition and Borg, he’s no stranger to challenging bouts. A win over “The Bermuda Triangle,” he believes, would be a huge step in his MMA career.
Who Would be Next?
Kenney said he’d be fine with whoever the UFC wants to give him if he defeats Bermudez, but he has a bantamweight legend in mind.
“Why not Urijah Faber? He’s back in the mix and wants a shot at the title. It’s hard to give him a title shot off of one win, so why not another up-and-coming contender?”
Faber recently came out of retirement and TKO’d the up-and-coming Ricky Simon in July. What Faber did to Simon is what Kenney thinks he can do to Bermudez.
“I’m going to put him away. Round 1, 2 or 3, it doesn’t matter. If he can withstand the original onslaught, I think I’m gonna drown him in deep waters.”
UFC 241 goes down Saturday from the Honda Center in Anaheim. The card features a heavyweight title rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. It also marks the return of Nate Diaz, who fights Anthony Pettis in a welterweight bout. Catch Casey Kenney fight Manny Bermudez on the ESPN prelims.
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