UFC 155 fight card primer: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

Photo via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

If you could throw a label on this fight, it would probably be called "second chances". Maybe even "third chances" in reference to one of the combatants. One man has battled opponents in and out of the cage for many years. The other is looking to take advantage of a late-replacement spot in the big time. Chris Leben (22-8, 12-7 UFC) faces off with Derek Brunson (9-2, 0-0 UFC).

Leben is currently sitting in the twenty at middleweight on the Bloody Elbow Meta-Rankings despite his lengthy layoff, while Brunson is unranked. I doubt either of them are going to climb the ladder much with a win. This middleweight UFC 155 fight will be the first fight of the main card, and will be shown pay-per-view. The PPV begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Leben: 32 years old | 5'11" | 70.5" reach
Brunson: 28 years old | 6'1" | 76" reach

What have these two done recently?

Leben: L - Mark Munoz (TKO) | W - Wanderlei Silva (KO) | L - Brian Stann (TKO)
Brunson: L - Ronaldo Souza (KO) | L - Kendall Grove (SD) | W - Nate James (UD)

How did these two get here?

Chris "The Crippler" Leben's path to this bout is long and winding. The TUF 1 contestant has made no bones of the fact that he has battled drugs and alcohol for many years, and is coming off his second UFC suspension. He is apparently clean and sober now, and will look to erase the memory of his loss to Mark Munoz in November 2011.

Derek Brunson was once one of Strikeforce's brightest prospects, but it all went downhill quickly. SF lent him out to fight Kendall Grove on the regional circuit, and he dropped a debatable decision (the first loss of his career). He was given a chance to redeem himself against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, but got knocked out in just 41 seconds. A possible TUF stint was blocked by Showtime, but Strikeforce's death has given him a shot in the UFC anyway. He badly needs a win here to gain back some career momentum.

Why should you care?

When was the last time you saw a boring Chris Leben fight?

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