This Wednesday night (April 16, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke will face off in the co-main event of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale, airing live at 7 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1 from Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Former UFC middleweight title challenger Cote got the best of the two fighters' stint as coaches on the Canada vs. Australia-themed TUF: "Nations." All four finalists are from his native Canada, but now he's got to uphold their honor by defeating Noke.
"Predator" was last seen defeating Bobby Voelker via decision at UFC 158 in March 2013. Fighting in mixed martial arts (MMA) for nearly 12 years, Cote has won six out of his past seven bouts after a three-fight snide saw him released from UFC.
Noke has been out of action since a first round TKO of Charlie Brenneman at UFC 152 in October 2012. He had lost two straight heading into the bout, so after a shoulder injury and a long layoff due to the show, Noke to prove he can bounce back strong tomorrow night.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for Cote vs. Noke:
Record: 19-8 overall, 6-8 UFC
Key Wins: Bobby Voelker (UFC 158), Kendall Grove (UFC 74), Scott Smith (UFC 67), Ricardo Almeida (UFC 86)
Key Losses: Anderson Silva (UFC 90), Tito Ortiz (UFC 50), Chris Leben (UFC Ultimate Fight Night), Cung Le (UFC 148), Alan Belcher (UFC 113), Tom Lawlor (UFC 121)
Record: 20-6-1 overall, 4-2 UFC
Key Wins: Charlie Brenneman (UFC 152), Chris Camozzi (UFC 127)
Key Losses: Ed Herman (UFC on Versus 5), Andrew Craig (UFC on FX 2)
Cote is a seasoned finisher who's put away eight foes via knockout. His problem is that he's wilted in the face of true top competition. His key losses make up most of his overall losses, and each defeat has come in UFC. That's not usually a recipe for success in the Octagon, so Cote is lucky to be where he is.
Having grown up in Quebec, he'll have the roaring support of his hometown fans behind him. Cote needs to keep a high pace and disrupt Noke's rhythm with his strikes. Noke has a solid chin and even fought Hector Lombard to a draw, so a knockout would be a solid accomplishment.
Noke is a well-rounded combatant with seven knockouts and eight submissions to his name. Cote has proven he can be submitted before, but like Noke, he's extremely tough to knock out and only has one striking stoppage loss on his record.
The Aussie has a vicious rear-naked choke that could come into play if he can win some scrambles and gain an advantageous position on the mat.
With his last win being light years ago, Noke needs to make a statement with a big win, and he's going to have to do it in extremely hostile territory.
Cote and Noke are extremely tough challengers, but it's hard to gauge just where they're at right now. They've been involved as coaches of TUF ‘Nations' for quite some time, and ring rust may be a factor in Quebec.
Noke's been out for quite a bit longer after some injuries, and I can't help but thinking his year-and-half layoff off will to hinder his abilities somewhat. He'll most likely need some time to get re-accustomed to the cage, and that's not a luxury he'll have in facing hometown favorite Cote.
I doubt that Noke gets finished with strikes, but Cote's extensive Muay Thai training might outclass him on the feet. Unless he can get the fight to the ground and lock up a submission, I see this one going to ‘Predator.'
Final Prediction: Cote def. Noke via unanimous decision