UFC 101 features a lot of intriguing match-ups on the undercard, but this fairly quiet bout between Team Rampage fighters Dan Cramer (1-0) vs. Matt Riddle (2-0) from Season 7 of the Ultimate Fighter probably doesn't excite any particular fan looking down the long list of battles on this card. Regardless of what you believe about this fight, it will pit two fighters training out of two of the most prestigious fight camps in the United States. The only question remaining is how each fighter has improved since their last fights.
Dan Cramer found his way into the The Ultimate Fighter house on the Season 7 show by defeating Jeremiah Riggs by unanimous decision in the preliminary bouts. He was selected to represent Team Rampage on the show along with his UFC 101 opponent Matt Riddle. After defeating Luke Zachrich in the quarterfinals, Cramer found himself in the semi-finals against Tim Credeur. Credeur managed to defeat Cramer via a heel hook to end his run for the contract.
Following his stint on the show, Cramer moved to Coconut Creek, Florida to train with the world-renowned American Top Team. He had previous experience in Brazilian jiu-jitsu training at American Top Team in Connecticut and Best Way Brazilian jiu-jitsu being training by four-time Pan-Am jiu-jitsu champion Luigi Mondelli.
Cramer was first scheduled to take on Cale Yarborough at the Season 7 Finale, but a broken collar bone caused him to pull out of the fight. After a full recovery, Cramer made his professional MMA debut against a very tough grappler in Matt Arroyo at UFC 94 in which he came out victorious via split decision. It surely wasn't a bad win considering it was Cramer's first professional bout.
Matt Riddle blasted his way into the Ultimate Fighter house by knocking out Matt Serra-trained Dan Simmler by a vicious knockout that Dana White called the biggest knockout in TUF history. Riddle took on eventual finalist Tim Credeur in the preliminary round within the house, losing via armbar in the second round of the match-up.
Riddle's background involves a New York State Wrestling Championship during his senior year of high school, and his junior year produced a National Wrestling Championship. He was wrestling at East Stroudsburg University, but lost his scholarship. Naturally, he turned to mixed martial arts after his 2 year stint in college. He also has a purple belt in jiu-jitsu, but he's definitely more mentally adjusted for the stand-up style of MMA than actually rolling with opponents. He also has one of the best camps in the business in Xtreme Couture by his side.
Stylistically, this is a showdown that will likely pit a grappler vs. a striker. It's no secret that Riddle will be looking for a massive knockout with his stand-up game, but his wrestling and jiu-jitsu are always there as a defensive skill. Cramer will primarily be looking for the floor as his jiu-jitsu and length should be his major advantages, but the question truly becomes whether Cramer can get Riddle to his world on the floor. This will definitely be a tough match-up for Cramer to pull off if Riddle's takedown defense is top notch. This should be a very tough fight to pick due to the novice status of both fighters.
Photos via UFC.