Welterweights Rick Story (15-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) faces Mike Pyle (24-8-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) headline tonight's UFC 160 preliminary card special on FX. Both are coming off 1st round TKO wins of their respective opponents. Story is coming in as a replacement for the injured Gunnar Nelson, the Icelandic prospect who has won his first two fights in the UFC.
While Pyle/Nelson was a good fight on paper, Pyle vs. Story has the potential to be a FOTN candidate with the winner inching closer to a top 10 ranking. You can view this fight along with three others on FX beginning at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT. The live PPV broadcast commences immediately following the preliminary card at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Pyle: 37 years old | 6'1" | 74" reach
Story: 28 years old | 5'10" | 71" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Pyle has quietly won 6 of his last 7 fights, with his lone defeat coming by TKO against the dangerous Rory MacDonald. What makes Pyle's recent win streak so impressive is not that he's winning against opponents he was favored to beat, but that he's won using his striking and not his submissions or wrestling. Pyle's best win in his last 3 came against Josh Neer, as he became the first man to KO Neer since 2007. This new wrinkle in his game and his success on the feet has seen "Quicksand" climbing up the welterweight ranks, and a victory over Story would be his best one yet.
Story was once the talk of the MMA world, reeling off wins over Dustin Hazelett, Johny Hendricks, and Thiago Alves from 2010-2011. A last minute change of opponent from Nate Marquardt to Charlie Brenneman proved to be a crucial turning point in his career, as Brenneman soundly outwrestled Rick for the upset victory. Story then lost his next fight against Martin Kampmann to take him out of the title picture in the long-term. After beating Brock Jardine in 2012, Story was violently finished by Demian Maia with a brutal rear naked choke, marking Story's first stoppage loss in his career. "The Horror" got back in the win column at UFC 158 by easily knocking out Quinn Mulhern.
Why should you care?
Story is trying to repave his path towards the upper echelon of 170 lbs, while a win for Pyle would certainly merit a boost in competition. It's a great fight, a solid FX prelim headliner, and you should watch it.