The 3rd of 4 preliminary fights on FX is between Canadian Roland Delorme (8-1, 2-0 UFC) and Francisco Rivera (8-2, 1-1 UFC) in the bantamweight division. Neither fighter is currently ranked in the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings, and it's unlikely they'll move into the top 25 after Saturday, but both are looking to add to their respective winning streaks. The FX broadcast airs live coast-to-coast at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT as a prelude to the 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT PPV main card.
Delorme was a quarterfinalist on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, while Rivera is in his 2nd UFC fight since his initial release in 2011. It's certainly a battle of contrasting styles, as Delorme frequents submissions whereas Rivera has knockout power on the feet. They've both been in entertaining fights in their time with Zuffa, and this has the potential to be another exciting matchup.
How do these two stack up?
Delorme: 28 years old | 5'9" | 71' reach
Rivera: 30 years old | 5'9" | Unknown reach
What have these two done recently?
Delorme: W - Nick Denis (SUB) | W - Josh Ferguson (SUB) | L - Eric Wilson (SD)
Rivera: W - Alex Soto (UD) | W - Antonio Duarte (KO) | W - Brad McDonald (KO)
How did these two get here?
Roland Delorme is a Winnipeg-based fighter with a black belt in judo and brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His slick ground game and submissions resulted in a 6-0 start (all finishes) to his career. After losing to Eric Wilson by split decision, Delorme successfully tried out for The Ultimate Fighter, advancing to the quarterfinals where he would lose to eventual runner-up TJ Dillashaw. He still earned a spot on the season finale card, and submitted Josh Ferguson in the 2nd round. Delorme pulled off one of the bigger upsets of 2012, recovering from an early knockdown and barrage of strikes to submit fellow Canadian and knockout artist Nick Denis with 1 second left in the opening round at UFC on FOX 3. You could say he lived up to his nickname of "Stunning". His fight with Rivera marks his first in Canada since suffering his only career loss in 2010.
Rivera started out as a featherweight fighting out of Buena Park, California, and after a 5-0 start he soon found himself as a late call-up to the WEC when Josh Grispi suffered an injury preparing for his fight with Erik Koch at WEC 52. It took only 95 seconds for Koch to dispose of Rivera with a head kick and punches, but Rivera would still make it to the UFC as part of the merging of the bantam and featherweight divisions. He was cut after losing to Reuben Duran at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale via rear-naked choke. Rivera fought twice in Tachi Palace Fights in Lenmoore, California, and showcased his powerful striking by knocking out Antonio Duarte and Brad McDonald with vicious right hands. The UFC brought him back for a May fight with Alex Soto after Soto's original opponent was injured, and Rivera picked up his first win under the Zuffa banner with an easy decision victory. He's hoping to continue his momentum and possibly showcase his KO power against Delorme.
Why should you care?
Bantamweights normally provide plenty of fast-paced excitement, and Delorme's last win was one of the most incredible rounds in the UFC this year. This has Fight of the Night potential.
More UFC 149 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.