CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 27: (L-R) Heavyweight opponents Mike Russow and Jon-Olav Einemo face off after weighing in during the UFC on FOX official weigh in at the Chicago Theatre on January 27, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
At UFC on Fox 2, Mike Russow (14-1, 1 NC; 3-0 UFC) faces Jon Olav Einemo (6-2; 0-1 UFC). This fight is in the Heavyweight division and is part of the Fuel TV prelim card. Russow is currently the #18 ranked Heavyweight in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, while Einemo is unranked. The Fuel TV prelims begin this Saturday, January 28 at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT, with the main card following on Fox at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
What is interesting about this match-up is that for both Russow and Einemo, the time to shine is now or never. Both men are in their mid-30s, and are unlikely to have tremendous longevity in the sport at this point. Yet both have the skills to make a mark in the UFC's Heavyweight division. Can either Einemo or Russow move into the upper echelon of the division? It's hard to say, but if they want to, that road has to begin right now.
How do these two stack up?
Russow: 35 years old | 6'2" | 73" reach
Einemo: 36 years old | 6'6" | 81" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Russow looks like your average low level UFC wash-out, but he has put together a very solid resume for himself. At 14-1 overall, and undefeated in the UFC, he has a better claim for top contender status than a lot of men ranked higher than him. Russow's career defining moment remains his complete derailment of Todd Duffee - that epic KO (and subsequent ground and pound) permanently altered Duffee's career trajectory. If you've never seen the KO, I'm sure the Mortal Kombat gif will pop up in the comments soon. Russow has been fighting very sporadically during his UFC run, but if he wins here, I'd like to see him back soon and against an even higher level of competition.
Einemo is one of the best 0-1 fighters you'll find in the UFC. The Pride veteran is a submission expert, with a number of grappling accolades to his name. He was an unexpected UFC signing last year - that Dave Herman fight was Einemo's first since 2006 - and it's equally unexpected that he is now back. During last year's Zuffa vs. Golden Glory battle, Einemo (a Golden Glory fighter) was released by the company, only to be brought back now. His credentials make him a tremendously exciting prospect, but a loss here probably means his permanent departure from the UFC, and, to be honest, possibly from MMA. The window is closing on Einemo, but I still think he could make a splash with a big win here.
Why should you care?
This should be one of those fun Heavyweight slugfests, and I have a soft spot for both guys for some reason. But it certainly could also be a tedious 15 minutes. Proceed with caution.
More UFC on Fox 2 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
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