Not many guys can say they have 20 fights in the UFC, but after Saturday night, one of the combatants in this fight can make that claim. Whether he can say that after his hand is raised or not remains to be seen, because he's facing one of the toughest opponents of his career. American Kickboxing Academny's Josh Koscheck (16-5, 14-5 UFC) faces off with Team Quest's Mike Pierce (13-4, 5-2 UFC).
Koscheck is currently number six at welterweight in the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings, while Pierce is unranked. Frankly, it's a crime that Pierce isn't on the list as he is clearly a top-20 fighter at 170 pounds. Kos isn't going to move up much with a win here, but Pierce could finally earn the respect he deserves with the upset. This welterweight fight will be the third bout of the main card, and will be aired live on pay-per-view. The PPV broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Koscheck: 34 years old | 5'10" | 73" reach
Pierce: 31 years old | 5'8" | 71" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Josh Koscheck is a name that you probably recognize by now. He was TUF 1's bad boy, and has carved out a stellar UFC career over the last six years. As mentioned above, this is his 20th bout in the organization. The 34-year-old put together a three-fight winning streak in 2009-10 that was enough to earn a second fight with Georges St. Pierre. They had met once before in a non-title bout, and GSP had eked out a close decision. This time though, at UFC 124, St. Pierre broke Koscheck's orbital bone with the first jab of the fight, which forced Kos to gut out 25 minutes of agony and led to a unanimous decision loss. He is undoubtedly one of the top welterweights in the world though, and rebounded from a long orbital injury layoff with a first round knockout of UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes. Can Kos maintain his spot in the pecking order tonight?
Mike Pierce is a blue-collar wrestler from Oregon that earned fame the hard way. After grinding it out on the Pacific Northwest circuit and putting up an impressive WEC victory, Pierce earned a UFC bout and dispatched Brock Larson by unanimous decision. His next scheduled bout for UFC 107 was a gigantic step up when he was scheduled to face...guess who? Josh Koscheck! The UFC changed things up though and gave Kos Anthony Johnson while sticking Pierce with arguably an even tougher opponent, Jon Fitch. Fitch dominated the first two rounds, but Pierce rebounded in the third and hurt Fitch badly. He was unable to get the finish though, and dropped a decision. Three straight wins after that led to a bout with Johny Hendricks, where Pierce fought valiantly but dropped a split decision. He rebounded with a second win over Paul Bradley though, and now looks for the biggest win of his career over Kos.
Why should you care?
Koscheck talks a lot, but he usually backs it up. Can he defeat a man that MIGHT be his equal when it comes to MMA grappling? The winner will get a big-name opponent next time out, so this is vital for the career of both guys. That should make it worth your time.
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