UFC 166 fight card primer: George Sotiropoulos vs. K.J. Noons

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow previews all 13 fights from tonight's UFC 166 PPV in Houston, Texas. Here, we look at George Sotiropoulos vs. KJ Noons.

Opening up the UFC 166 preliminary card on Fox Sports 1 is a striker vs. grappler match-up between two struggling lightweights, as George Sotiropoulos (14-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) meets former pro boxer K.J. Noons (11-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC). Both men come into this one having lost their last 3 fights.

Sotiropoulos is hailed for his excellent submissions and jiu-jitsu, while Noons is known for his boxing abilities. It's been G-Sot's chin that has failed him in recent fights, while Noons has been outclassed on the ground twice. The Fox Sports 1 portion of the UFC 166 prelims airs live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT and leads up to the PPV main card, which starts at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT per usual.

How do these two measure up?

Sotiropoulos: 36 years old | 5'10" | 71" reach
Noons: 30 years old | 5'10" | 70" reach

What have these two done lately?

Sotiropoulos: L - Ross Pearson (TKO) | L - Rafael dos Anjos (KO) | L - Dennis Siver (UD)
Noons: L - Donald Cerrone (UD) | L - Ryan Couture (SD) | L - Josh Thomson (UD)

How did these two get here?

The Australian had started his UFC career (after being on TUF 6) with a 7-0 record, with 6 of his victories in the lightweight division. After rallying from a poor start against Joe Lauzon to submit him in the 2nd round, Sotiropoulos took on Dennis Siver in front of his home fans at UFC 110, but the partisan crowd were left disappointed as Siver twice dropped Sotiropoulos and successfully avoided the dangerous ground game for the duration of the fight. Against Rafael dos Anjos, Sotiropoulos' suspect chin was dented again, only this time he was knocked out clean in just 1 minute. He spent much of 2012 recovering from injuries and coaching opposite Ross Pearson as part of TUF: The Smashes. In the season finale, Pearson used his superior boxing skills to hurt Sotiropoulos before finishing him with a body shot in the 3rd round.

Noons is best known for bloodying Nick Diaz in EliteXC six years ago to the point of a doctor's stoppage at the end of the 1st round. He lost the Strikeforce rematch in 2010 (at welterweight), and it's spawned a bad run of form for him in recent times. He's won just 1 fight in his last 6, although his "loss" to Ryan Couture was put more on judging incompetency than Noons being on the wrong end of a split decision. His UFC debut was promised by Dana White, but he was thrown to the top 10 right away against Donald Cerrone, and predictably he was battered, bruised, and left UFC 160 with a lopsided unanimous decision defeat on his record.

Why should you care?

Barring some freak no-contest, the loser is gone from the UFC for sure. But these are two established lightweights who have been in plenty of fun fights, so that aspect of this fight is also worth your troubles.

SBN coverage of UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III

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