The featured fight on FX's preliminary card special is a rematch between two middleweight from season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, as season winner Court McGee (15-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) faces Nick Ring (12-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). Both McGee and Ring are coming off decision losses, and see themselves unranked in the USA Today/MMA Nation consensus rankings. The FX portion of the preliminary card airs live coast-to-coast at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT before the PPV broadcast commences at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
McGee and Ring fought each other in the first round of the tournament bracket, with Ring taking a close majority decision. In a dramatic twist of fate, McGee returned when Ring's quarterfinal opponent Rich Attonito withdrew due to injury, setting up a rematch between the two. Unfortunately for Ring, a recurring knee problem in need of surgery forced him out of the competition, and he was replaced by James Hammortree. McGee went onto win the tournament and now they end up with a rematch, this time in professional competition.
How do these two stack up?
McGee: 27 years old | 5'11" | 76' reach
Ring: 33 years old | 6'1" | 74' reach
How did these two get here?
You could say Court McGee's life has evolved around taking advantage of second chances. In 2005, McGee was declared clinically dead after a heroin overdose, but "The Crusher" was revived by paramedics. He's been sober since 2006, and soon after started fighting professionally. He racked up 10 wins out of 11 in MMA, as well as 2 wins as a pro boxer, before joining TUF. Given a second chance on the show through Rich Attonito's injury, he went all the way to the final where he submitted Kris McCray to win the middleweight tournament. His first fight post-TUF saw him struggle early against Ryan Jensen at UFC 121, only to rally for a thrilling and dramatic submission win in the 3rd round. McGee's winning ways continued with a victory over Dongi Yang last September, before Costa Phillippou soundly outboxed him towards a decision. Now he looks to recover from his latest setback and even the score with Ring in the rematch.
Canada's Nick "The Promise" Ring has fought professionally since 2002, and won his first 10 bouts before being selected to fight on TUF. When he was forced off the show to repair an injured knee, Ring took time off to recover before he debuted at UFC 127 against Riki Fakuda. Seemingly outclassed, Ring won an unpopular unanimous decision over the Japanese fighter. He survived an early knockdown against James Head at UFC 131 in Vancouver and earned a rear-naked choke win in the 3rd round to move to 12-0 in his career, but Tim Boetsch dominated Ring en route to his first professional loss. Like McGee, Ring is a former pro boxer, with just a handful of fights and a 4-1 record. Ring trains at BDB Martial Arts in Calgary and will have the home fans behind him Saturday night.
Why should you care?
It's a rematch of a very close fight on TUF. This one doesn't have the same significance or circumstance, but it's equally important for both men to avoid a 2nd consecutive loss and edge closer to the UFC chopping block.
More UFC 149 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.