This Friday night, the UFC airs UFC on FX 4. Headlined by a big Lightweight fight between Gray Maynard and Clay Guida, the card also features three other fights as part of the main card on FX. The main card airs live on FX Friday night at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. Here, we preview those three main card fights in our Bloody Elbow primer. Be sure to check back later today for our Maynard vs. Guida primer as well. And for a more in depth look at every fight, take a look at the excellent fight by fight Dissections by Dallas Winston.
While these fights may not have a huge amount of relevance in the immediate title picture, they are all very well put together, and should be three very interesting and fun fights. Let's take a look at each one.
Neither of these men are real factors in the Lightweight division right now, but still, this feels like a fight that matters. That's because it's the rubber match between these two rivals. On one side stands Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout (17-7-1; 6-6 UFC), a Shawn Tompkins trainee who has been a fixture of the UFC Lightweight division since 2006. His opponent is Spencer "The King" Fisher (24-8; 9-7 UFC), another longtime veteran. These two met previously in 2006 and 2007, with Stout winning the first fight, Fisher the second. Both are absolute classic fights that really must be seen. Each man has roughly a decade of pro experience, and you get the sense, particularly for Fisher, that things are winding down. This is quite possibly the last real "big" fight for both, and it's fitting that it comes against their greatest career rival. The winner here won't suddenly be in the title hunt, and the loser could easily be cut (again, especially Fisher, who is just 1-4 in his last 5), and yet this feels like a big deal. Both men have given a ton to the sport in their careers, and I'm excited to see them go at it one more time.
A classic battle here of seasoned veteran vs. relative newcomer in the Welterweight division. Representing the veteran side is the 31 year old 10 year pro Brian Ebersole (49-14-1(1); 3-0 UFC). With 65 pro MMA fights to his name, Ebersole fought all over the world before coming to the UFC last year. He picked up quick momentum with impressive wins over Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman, but looked less impressive in his last fight - a somewhat dull decision victory over Claude Patrick. His opponent is T.J. Waldburger (15-6; 3-1 UFC) who is still a 6 year pro, but a somewhat new name in the UFC. He's looked increasingly impressive in UFC wins over Mike Stumpf and Jake Hecht, and is now searching for that breakout win to move him into the upper reaches of the division. A win here would certainly do it. Both of these guys are dynamic, exciting fighters, and this should be a good one.
This is the second UFC Featherweight fight for Ross "The Real Deal" Pearson (13-5; 5-2 UFC). The Brit is 1-0 in the UFC at 145 pounds, having defeated Junior Assuncao at UFC 141. Prior to that, Pearson had quietly put together a very solid UFC record at Lightweight, starting with a win on The Ultimate Fighter and following that up with wins over tough veterans in Aaron Riley, Dennis Siver, and Spencer Fisher. Despite his success, he was getting lost in the shuffle at Lightweight, and I think a move down to the more open Featherweight division could do wonders for his career. He's facing Greg Jackson trainee Cub Swanson (16-5; 1-1 UFC). A Featherweight veteran, Swanson is playing much the same role here as he did in the WEC - low level gatekeeper. Swanson comes in off one of the biggest wins of his career, a KO over George Roop, and looks to have his first 2 fight win streak since 2008 with an upset here. This is mainly a showcase for Pearson, but that's OK by me, as I am excited by his run at Featherweight.
More UFC on FX 4 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.