Ivan Menjivar and Mike Easton face off during the UFC 148 weigh-ins at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Friday, July, 6, 2012. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
In the opening pay per view fight at UFC 148, Ivan Menjivar (24-8; 3-1 UFC) takes on Mike Easton (12-1; 2-0 UFC). This is a Bantamweight fight. Menjivar is currently the #21 Bantamweight in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings; Easton is unranked. The UFC 148 PPV card airs live Saturday night July 7 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
With UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz out due to injury, this becomes a very interesting fight. Urijah Faber and Renan Barao are set to fight for the interim title at UFC 149. Depending on how long Cruz is out, there could be a defense of that interim title before he returns. The winner here will likely join Michael McDonald on the short list of possible title challengers. Being featured on the main card (especially on such a huge show) is a chance for these two to really make their mark with the casual fans and claim their spots as top contenders.
How do these two stack up?
Menjivar: 30 years old | 5'6"
Easton: 28 years old | 5'5"
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Ivan Menjivar is an 11 year veteran of the sport who currently trains at the Tristar Gym. He's fought all the way from Welterweight to Bantamweight, taking on some major names along the way, including Georges St. Pierre, Urijah Faber, and Matt Serra. Since coming to the WEC as a Bantamweight in 2010, he's been on a roll, going 3-1. He's undefeated in his current Bantamweight run in the UFC, with his lone UFC loss coming to Matt Serra back in 2004. Menjivar has really put things together now that he's fighting at his proper weight, and you get the feeling that now is his time to make a big run.
Mike "The Hulk" Easton trains with Dominick Cruz and the Lloyd Irvin team at Alliance MMA. He made his pro debut in 2003, but only fought sporadically until 2008. He's a very intense fighter who holds wins over John Dodson and Chase Beebe (though that Beebe win is widely considered one of the biggest judging robberies in recent history). In the UFC, he's undefeated so far with a pair of wins, though he is yet to be tested much. This is a real break out opportunity for him.
Why should you care?
Bantamweights almost always provide fast-paced, exciting action, and these two absolutely fit that mold. I expect the knowledge of both the big stage and the big stakes will push them to make this an even more dynamic fight. This could be great.
More UFC 148 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.