The first of two fights in the featherweight division takes place on the preliminary card, as TUF 14 champion Diego Brandao (14-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) takes on the fantastically named Joey Gambino (9-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC 153 in Brazil. Neither man is ranked in the SB Nation MMA Consensus Rankings.
Brandao has struggled to find consistency both in his MMA and UFC career and his record reflects that, but he's an extremely exciting fighter. Gambino is looking to get off the schneid and like Brandao he is quite young and equally fun to watch. You can catch this fight along with 3 others on FX at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Brandao: 25 years old | 5'7" | 64" reach
Gambino: 23 years old | 5'7" | 70" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Brandao entered season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter as a featherweight with explosive hands and KO power. All of his wins on the show were by KO, including a brutal flying knee against Bryan Caraway in the semifinals. The final against Dennis Bermudez was one of the most incredible one-round fights of 2011, as the two men traded heavy leather back-and-forth until Brandao was dropped late in the round, absorbing heavy ground-and-pound, but with seconds remaining he caught Dennis with an armbar and forced him to submit. It won FOTN and SOTN honors in addition to winning the TUF 14 FW tournament. His loss to Darren Elkins set him back, but he's already established himself as one of the most entertaining guys in the division.
Gambino made an early splash in the regional scene, winning his first 8 fights by stoppage before defeating Bellator veteran Kenny Foster in a five-round fight at Cage Fury Fighting Championships in New Jersey. Stepping in for Jimy Hettes on short notice, Gambino fought Steven Siler at UFC on FX 4 but tapped due to a guillotine choke in the first round. He's still only 23 years old and is regarded as one of the top prospects in the 145 lbs division, but he needs to make the most of his 2nd fight in the UFC and his 1st with a full training camp.
Why should you care?
Brandao is fun to watch regardless of the outcome. So is Gambino. I highly suggest you watch just to be entertained.
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