This week marks a big point in this season of UFC The Ultimate Fighter Live. Because tonight's fight brings our opening round to a close with the winner joining the other seven fighters in the quarter-final round. Closing out this round will be Dominick Cruz #4 pick Mike Rio against Urijah Faber #7 pick Andy Ogle. The Ultimate Fighter airs live on FX Friday night at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Perhaps it's because they have had a number of weeks, but I feel like both of these men have seen their personalities emerge on camera. Ogle is a tough but cerebral fighter who is struggling with the pressure of TUF and the distance from home. Meanwhile, Rio is the older, more world-weary wrestler who is taking this whole thing in stride. Their personalities form an interesting clash, but how will they match up inside the cage? Let's break it down, with some background and fight footage on each man.
One other note for this week - the UFC announced that this episode will also include the announcement of next week's two quarter-final fights, so look forward to that.
Breakdown of Rio and Ogle, plus fight video and prediction in the full entry.
ANDY OGLE (8-1)
5'8" | 22 years old | 71" reach
TUF record: def. Brendan Weafer (UD)
At only 22 years old, Ogle is one of the younger fighters in the house. The UK fighter trains at Yasamasu MMA - a small gym that shows his modest start in MMA. A 3 year pro, Ogle lost his 2nd pro fight, but has gone undefeated since. He's fought entirely in the UK and has never faced an opponent of particular note. He is more of a well-rounded fighter as opposed to a specialist, and is capable both on the feet and the ground.
In the prelim round, Ogle honestly did not show much against Weafer. He spent a lot of the fight defending a triangle attempt, and overall, his offense was very limited. Rewatching, I'm not sure I would give him the decision. In the stand-up, Ogle tends to carry himself a bit stiff, with his shoulders too tight. He has a nice inside trip that he uses for takedowns. Once on the mat, he looks more comfortable. I would describe him as primarily a grappler who shows strong submission defense. The only downside to that defense is that he shows it a lot as he has a tendency to get himself into bad positions.
For this fight, Ogle's best bet is to avoid the takedown and keep things standing, trying to outstrike the wrestler Rio.
MIKE RIO (8-1)
5'10" | 30 years old | 70" reach
TUF record: def. Ali Maclean (Sub)
Miami native Mike "The Wolverine" Rio is a four year veteran. He's put together a solid 8-1 record, with his only loss coming against former TUF champion Efrain Escudero. He was a state champion in wrestling in high school, and that wrestling background forms the basis of his MMA game.
On the feet, Rio's skills are still in development. He has a nice jab, and a good chin, but has some defensive issues. Mainly, he tends to keep his hands out too long after throwing a punch, not bringing them back to protect his chin, which leaves him open. He also brings his head up when getting hit, and against a strong striker, this could cause problems.
But where Rio really shines is on the mat. He has a fast double leg takedown, and once he has control on the ground, he really works for the finish. He's very controlling on the mat, using wrestling to keep his opponent down and move himself into dominant positions. Rio tends to work towards back control, where he will either look to sink in a rear naked choke, bring punches down for the stoppage, or throw his opponent back to the mat if he tries to regain his feet. This is a smart use of wrestling, and Rio is very good at it - once his opponent is down, Rio does not let up and almost inevitably he will get the stoppage.
Against Ogle, I expect him to employ his strategy of choice - trade shots to get Ogle thinking stand-up, then shoot the double, take him down, and work to the finish.
Prediction: Mike Rio, TKO, round 2
Rio may have the best ground game in the competition at this point, and that wrestling is going to be just too good for Ogle. Ogle's a decent grappler, but that tendency to get into bad positions is going to really hurt him here. Look for the Team Cruz fighter to control the ground game until he has a strong enough position to bring down the ground and pound for the stoppage.
Andy Ogle vs. Phil Flynn
September 4, 2010
Nice finish from Ogle, who shows good submission technique on the rear naked choke here.
Mike Rio vs. Zach Juusola
October 9, 2011
Dominant performance here from Rio
Mike Rio vs. John Ortolani
December 17, 2011
Another great performance from Rio here, using his wrestling to dominate
Mike Rio Wrestling Highlights
Something a bit different , but worth a look - this is a highlight reel of Rio in amateur wrestling.