A late lineup shuffle means that Johnny Bedford (17-9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) will meet fellow TUF 14 participant Bryan Caraway (17-6 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 159 tonight in Newark, New Jersey. Bedford was due to meet Erik Perez on the card, but a staph infection forced Perez into the hospital and obviously out of the fight.
Caraway is coming into this on just one week's notice, but his submission skills could prove to be a big threat to Bedford's recent winning streak. The FX preliminary card starts at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT before the PPV main card at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Bedford: 30 years old | 5'10" | 72" reach
Caraway: 28 years old | 5'8" | 68" reach
What have these two done recently?
Bedford: W - Marcos Vinicius (KO) | W - Louis Gaudinot (TKO) | W - Frank Gomez (SUB)
Caraway: L - Takeya Mizugaki (SD) | W - Mitch Gagnon (SUB) | W - Dustin Neace (SUB)
How did these two get here?
Bedford has been in the fight game for quite some time. His first pro fight took place in 2006, but by 2009 his record stood a meager 8-7-1. Since then he's won 11 of his last 13 professionally, in addition to 3 victories on TUF 14. His run on the show ended when John Dodson brutally knocked him out in the semifinals, but he's rebounded with knockout wins over Louis Gaudinot and Marcos Vinicius. If there's one huge red flag with Bedford, it's his submission defense. Eight of his nine pro losses have come via submission, and against a submission specialist like Caraway that could be highly problematic.
Caraway has competed in various promotions throughout his career, most notably the WEC, Strikeforce, and the grand poobah of them all - EliteXC. Like Bedford, Caraway was violently knocked out in the TUF 14 semifinals (by eventual season winner Diego Brandao). Following a win over Dustin Neace the Washingtonian made his bantamweight debut, submitting Mitch Gagnon at UFC 149. His last fight was a split decision loss to Takeya Mizugaki at UFC on Fuel 8, a fight more noted for his girlfriend Miesha Tate telling him to "just coast" in the final round, which proved to be a massive tactical error.
Why should you care?
It's a bummer to lose Erik Perez versus Johnny Bedford, but I guess this isn't a half-bad replacement. Caraway is a solid veteran and Bedford has looked great in his last two fights.