In one of only 2 fights in the lightweight division tonight, TUF 15 winner Michael Chiesa (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) fights Anton Kuivanen (17-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on the preliminary card of UFC 157 in Anaheim, CA. It's Chiesa's first bout since winning TUF last June, while Kuivanen looks to make it 2 wins in a row.
You're looking at two young lightweights who prefer to grapple instead of strike, which based no recent history means it's time for some kickboxing. You can view Chiesa/Kuivanen and three other fights on FX at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT, and then switch over to PPV at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Chiesa: 25 years old | 6'1" | 75.5" reach
Kuivanen: 28 years old | 5'8" | 72" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Chiesa is the winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Live, and he pulled off a string of finishes against Justin Lawrence, James Vick, and lastly the prohibitive favorite Al Iaquinta to take the TUF title. His first post-TUF test was due to be against Rafaello Oliveira in his home state of Washington, but Chiesa fell ill and was unable to compete. He's now healthy enough to fight and looks to keep his unbeaten record alive.
Kuivanen was the #8 ranked LW in the 2012 BE Scouting Report, and at the time he was on a nine-fight winning streak, largely against unknown European opposition. He debuted in the UFC last February, but dropped a decision to Justin Salas. The Finnish fighter notched his first win in the Octagon with an entertaining and close split decision nod over Mitch Clarke at UFC 149.
Why should you care?
Chiesa is a young TUF winner, was a great underdog story on the show, and finishes fights. Let's see how he progresses in the deep 155 lbs division and figure out whether he's one to watch or more TUF disappointment.