The UFC 149 prelims feature plenty of ground specialists, and two of them open up the FX portion of the card. Canadian bantamweight prospect Mitch Gagnon (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut against season 14 TUF semifinalist Bryan Caraway (16-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who is making his 135 lbs debut after spending his entire career at featherweight. The FX preliminary card features four fights and airs live coast-to-coast at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.
Don't expect a striking affair, as Gagnon has won all of his fights by submission, and Caraway has finished 14 of 16 the same way. While both men are the same age, Caraway has more fight experience and has competed in Strikeforce, EliteXC, and the WEC. It's as close to a Prospect vs. Veteran matchup as you'll get on this card.
How do these two stack up?
Gagnon: 27 years old | 5'6" | Unknown reach
Caraway: 27 years old | 5'9" | 68' reach
What have these two done recently?
Gagnon: W - David Harris (SUB) | W - Rejean Groulx (SLAM SUB) | W - Guillaume Lemarche (SUB)
Caraway: W - Dustin Neace (SUB) | W - Marlin Weikel (SUB) | L - Fredson Paixao (SD)
How did these two get here?
Quebec native Mitch Gagnon was the #10 featherweight prospect in Bloody Elbow's 2011 world scouting report, and for good reason. He has a background in greco-roman wrestling and judo, and it seamlessly translated into success when he turned pro. Gagnon won his first two fights via guillotine before suffering a decision loss against Will Romero. He hasn't lost since, and pulled off an incredible slam submission against Rejean Groulx in 2011. Signed on Christmas week, he originally was scheduled to debut against Johnny Bedford at UFC on FOX 2, but was unable to compete due to VISA issues. Now he fights in his home country, as he has in his previous 9 fights, but this time he's in the premier MMA organization.
Bryan Caraway is a member of prominent camp Team Alpha Male, who specializes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He turned pro in 2005, losing to Ian Loveland on a cuts stoppage, but won 14 of his next 16 to reach the WEC in January 2010. His debut came against Mark Hominick at WEC 46, where he tapped out in the 2nd round due to an armbar. A split decision defeat to Fredson Paixao saw him back on the regional circuit for one fight before he was selected to be on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter. Caraway advanced to the featherweight semifinals but was knocked out by eventual tournament winner Diego Brandao. He fought on the season finale, choking out Dustin Neace in the 2nd round. Caraway perhaps is best known for being the boyfriend and trainer of Strikeforce women's bantamweight and former champion Miesha Tate.
Why should you care?
Gagnon is a highly intriguing prospect, and Caraway is the ideal fighter to test his wrestling and submission skills. . Also, if you were not a fan of Caraway's "unintelligent bimbo" remark to Ronda Rousey on Twitter several months back, you'll probably tune in to see if he loses.
More UFC 149 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.