UFC 166 fight card primer: Tony Ferguson vs. Mike Rio

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow previews all 13 fights from tonight's UFC 166 PPV in Houston, Texas. Here, we look at Tony Ferguson vs. Mike Rio.

UFC 166 sees the return of Anthony Ferguson (13-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC) to the Octagon. The lightweight and TUF 13 champion faces TUF 15's Mike Rio (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on the UFC's Facebook portion of the eight-fight preliminary card.

Both men are not only looking to rebound from difficult defeats, but Ferguson hasn't fought since May 2012. Ferguson is known for his brutal punching power, while Rio comes from a wrestling background. The UFC 166 preliminary card starts on Facebook at approximately 6:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT and continues on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

How do these two measure up?

Ferguson: 29 years old | 6'0" | 70" reach
Rio: 32 years old | 5'10" | 70" reach

What have these two done recently?

Ferguson: L - Michael Johnson (UD) | W - Yves Edwards (UD) | W - Aaron Riley (TKO)
Rio: L- Francisco Trinaldo (SUB) | W - John Cofer (SUB) | W - John Ortolani (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Ferguson won season 13 of TUF as a welterweight, knocking out Ramsey Nijem with a massive left hand in the opening round of the tournament final. He dropped to lightweight and broke Aaron Riley's jaw at UFC 135, forcing a corner stoppage. A unanimous decision over Yves Edwards gave him a perfect 3-0 start to his UFC career, but TUF 12 runner-up Michael Johnson was able to get the better of him at UFC on Fox 3 in May. Injuries have delayed Ferguson's return significantly, but he's healthy enough to compete tonight.

Rio's time on TUF 15 was somewhat marred by his minor knee injury suffered while training with fellow cast member Myles Jury. In his first fight on the show, Rio was submitted by Andy Ogle, and also suffered two broken ribs in the contest. For this reason alone, he wasn't given a spot on the TUF 15 Finale, but he did make his UFC debut on the TUF 16 Finale, where he subbed John Cofer with less than a minute remaining in the final round. His only fight of 2013 was an arm-triangle choke defeat to Francisco Trinaldo in Brazil.

Why should you care?

"El Cucuy" Ferguson was considered one of the better prospects to come out of recent TUF seasons, and it will be worth watching how he performs after such a long layoff.

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

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