by Ken Pishna
Saturday night, Josh Koscheck steps out of the shadow of The Ultimate Fighter and stands on his own when he steps into the Octagon to face long-time veteran Pete Spratt. The UFC’s first full on foray into a full fight card, live on SpikeTV; this fight is the classic battle of styles, grappler versus striker, that the UFC was initially predicated upon.

Koscheck had a successful stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). He made it all the way to the semi-finals before being ousted by eventual winner Diego Sanchez. Then in the show’s finale, live on SpikeTV, he hammered out a convincing stoppage over fellow TUF competitor Chris Sanford.

Having been in the sport of mixed martial arts for little more than a year and a half and with a record of 5-0 (not including the fights during the TUF series), Koscheck definitely falls in the inexperienced category. He is an All-American wrestler though and competed at a very high level all through his college career, so it’s not like he’s a stranger to competition. But then again, wrestling is wrestling and MMA is MMA.

On the flip side, Pete Spratt has been in the game for nearly seven years and has built up a solid journeyman record of 13-8. He has a 2-1 record in the UFC and has faced the likes of Chris Lytle, Carlos Newton, Robbie Lawler, Georges St. Pierre, and more. In short, experience is not a problem for Spratt. He’s got plenty.

As you would expect, Koscheck has shown himself to be very adept at putting fighters on their back. The only problem is, aside from the fight with Sanford, he hasn’t shown much inclination to do much once there. Koscheck is definitely good at controlling position, but he hasn’t given much indication that he has much for a submission arsenal.

Spratt is just the opposite. He has long been regarded as one of the finest strikers in the welterweight division. He has tremendous power and technique whether it be in his hands or his legs. While his ground game hasn’t been overly impressive, it is definitely not non-existent. Spratt has submitted fighters both by choke and by arm bar. He’s also shown a strong ability to get the fight back to his feet.

If Koscheck can get Spratt to the ground, he has a good chance at controlling position, but it will be difficult for him to land the blows on Spratt the way that he did on Sanford. Spratt is much more wily and has much more experience to draw upon. But Koscheck could make him look bad and find his way to a decision.

More likely is that Spratt will be able to get back to his feet when he is taken down and considering his experience and Koscheck’s lack of it, especially against a striker of his caliber, Spratt will more than likely be able to land some damage on Koscheck. Once that happens, it is very difficult to recover against someone as dangerous as Spratt.

One thing is for sure; Saturday night will tell the tale.