One fighter is looking to continue his win streak and start to climb back up to facing elite competition again before time runs out on him. The other is back in the UFC for the third time after a long break and a drop in weight. It'll be wrestler vs. submission grappler when Aaron Simpson (9-2, 5-2 UFC) meets Eric Schafer (12-5-2, 3-4 UFC) in a middleweight bout at UFC 136.
Neither fighter is currently ranked at middleweight on the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings, but a couple of rankers have Simpson on their lists and a win here might earn a couple more. This is only Schafer's second fight at middleweight, but a win over a solid veteran would see him earn some consideration at least. This middleweight fight will be on the preliminary card, which will be streamed live on Facebook. The Facebook stream begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Schafer: 34 years old | 6'3" | 76.5" reach
Simpson: 37 years old | 6'0" | 73" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Eric "Red" Schafer first entered the UFC in 2006 as a light heavyweight, and won his debut bout quickly by arm-triangle. He faced a massive step up in competition for his next two bouts against Michael Bisping and Stephan Bonnar, and dropped both of them by TKO. After two wins on the regional circuit he was brought back at UFC Fight Night 15 where he submitted Houston Alexander, and he followed that up with a TKO win over Antonio Mendes. Two decision losses in a row to Ryan Bader and Jason Brilz ended his second stint in the organization though. After a long layoff, a drop to middleweight, and a quick win in a regional bout, Schafer was brought in to replace Jason "Mayhem" Miller when he was pulled from the bout for Ultimate Fighter duty and gets a new lease on UFC life at 185 pounds.
Aaron "A-Train" Simpson started his Zuffa career in the WEC, where his 18 second knockout of David Avellan at WEC 36 made quite an impression. Once the WEC middleweight fighters were absorbed into the UFC Simpson carried on winning, taking three victories in a row over increasingly strong competition. He finally met his match at the The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale though, and his name was Chris Leben. Leben handed Simpson his first career loss via TKO, and Simpson also dropped his next matchup against good friend and fellow wrestler Mark Munoz. He was able to rebound with two decision wins over Mario Miranda and Brad Tavares, and will look to continue his winning streak here.
Why should you care?
Schafer has always had trouble with good wrestlers, and Simpson definitely qualifies there. It will be interesting to see if having a size advantage for once will help Schafer in his quest to stay in the UFC.
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