Adam Borics vs Jeremy Kennedy promises to be an absolute blockbuster of a fight between two of Bellator’s most explosive featherweight prospects. Both men hold near-identical records and a win at Bellator 256 could propel either right into the title picture.
Adam “The Kid” Borics: 16-1
Adam Borics holds a huge amount of hype around his name, and rightly so. The 27-year-old Hungarian featherweight was picked up some of Bellator’s all-time greatest highlight-reel finishes. ‘The Kid’ holds flying knee KO’s over Aaron Pico and Teodor Nikolov. He also dropped Pat Curran with the same technique, which led to the subsequent ground and pound finish.
However, whilst it is easy to fixate on dramatic techniques like the flying knee, Borics has much more to his game. Standing at 5’11, Borics is a tall 145lber, and he fights like it. If an opponent isn’t willing to close distance, Borics will use his range to pepper them with jabs and low kicks. Pat Curran was only looking to counter in the first round of their fight. So Borics stayed on the outside, damaging Curran’s leg, and outpointing him. As a result, Curran came out with a lot more pressure in the second round. However, when Curran started moving forward, Borics landed that brutal switch knee which led to the stoppage.
While the flying knee against Curran is an extreme example, Borics is very adept at dealing with advancing opponents. Not exactly what you would call a counter puncher, Borics has a tendency to throw intercepting strikes before his opponents have a chance to properly engage. Teodor Nikolov may not be the highest-level opponent, but the way Borics took away every single avenue of attack against him was masterful. Every time Nikolov attempted to engage in the standup, Borics would throw out his jab as his opponent stepped in. This, combined with some solid takedown defense, essentially broke Nikolov’s will and led to the spectacular KO.
In terms of weaknesses for Borics, you have to look at his sole loss. Against Darrion Caldwell, Borics was unable to defend the double leg takedown. Then having managed to get his back against the cage, Borics was still unable to get back to his feet. Instead, he inadvertently gave Caldwell the opportunity to sink in the RNC. He also struggled against Aaron Pico’s wrestling game, although a flying knee KO will no doubt be the only thing that most fans remember from that fight.
Jeremy “JBC” Kennedy: 16-2
A former fighter for both the UFC and PFL, Jeremy Kennedy has fought some truly elite competition. During his run in the UFC, Kennedy defeated Alessandro Ricci, Rony Mariano Bezzara, and Kyle Bockniak. He also faced off against current UFC champ Alexander Volkanovski, who handed him the first loss of his career. After the UFC, Kennedy picked up wins at Brave CF and the PFL, before making his way to Bellator.
Whilst Kennedy does have a well-rounded game, it is in his wrestling that he truly stands out. He is incredibly strong in the clinch and is perfectly happy to force his opponent up against the side of the cage to grind them down. Once he sees an opening, he will instantly capitalize. Against Daniel Pineda, Kennedy drove his opponent into the cage by shooting for a single leg. Then when realizing that he would not get Pineda to the ground that way, he switched to double under hooks. This switch prompted Pineda to attempt a hip throw. However, Kennedy simply adjusted his weight and dragged Pineda to the ground.
When the fight hits the mat, it is just more of the same for Kennedy. He is perfectly happy to sit in half-guard and grind out his opponent. However, it is exactly this kind of approach that see’s him pick up finishes. In his second fight with Luis Rafael Laurentino, Kennedy was able to secure half-guard. He then postured up, trapping Laurentino against the fence, and dropped ruthless g&p.
However, Kennedy has been caught out before. Against Pineda, he was solely focused on the wrestling exchanges and did not realize the threat of Pineda’s guillotine submission. In the first Laurentino fight, he pressed forward recklessly and ate a fight-ending head kick as a result. Kennedy is aware his route to victory is through the grappling exchanges, it’s just sometimes he becomes too one-note and is punished as a result.
It is almost a cliche to simplify a fight down to it just being a classic case of striker vs wrestler. And yet this fight does appear that way on paper. However, there are several intriguing caveats within that moniker to this fight.
Firstly, Kennedy is not particularly adept at covering ground quickly. He will advance forward and cut off the cage to the point where he can advance into the clinch or shoot for a takedown. Borics movement will definitely make this harder for Kennedy. Also, the entry to Caldwell’s double leg on Borics was off the back of a blitz of strikes. Kennedy is adept at throwing a jab and then shooting in. However, not to the extent that Caldwell did.
Borics is not typically a clinch fighter. But he has thrown brutal strikes that have dropped people in the clinch before. Kennedy’s single-minded focus in the clinch may leave him vulnerable to such strikes.
It is quite possible that Kennedy will dominate the fight for certain periods of time. Just as Aaron Pico repeatedly took down Borics, Kennedy may have similar success. However, as mentioned above, Kennedy may lack that level of explosivity, to consistently shoot time and time again, whilst being hit with crippling leg kicks every time they break. He will also have the image of Pico, Curran, and Nikolev being poleaxed by Borics’ brutal switch knee.
An incredibly compelling matchup that really could go either way.
Bellator 256 takes place on April 9. It will be headlined by the rematch between MMA legends Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida. Also featured on this card, Liz Carmouche takes on Vanessa Porto, Adam Borics faces off against Jeremy Kennedy and Cat Zingano will test herself against Olivia Parker.