In a bit of a makeshift fight, the 2nd bout on the UFC 166 preliminary card features newcomer Andre Fili (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) against TUF 15's Jeremy Larsen (8-4, 1 NC MMA; 0-2 UFC) in a featherweight clash. Larsen lost his original opponent, Matt Grice, to a serious car accident, and then his replacement opponent, Charles Oliveira, recently pulled out with an injury.
"Touchy" Fili (I swear that is his actual nickname) is one of the better prospects at featherweight, and the latest of many up-and-comers from Team Alpha Male. Larsen is without a win in the UFC, and badly needs this one to stay in the organization. The UFC 166 prelims stream on Facebook at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT, and continue on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
How do these two measure up?
Fili: 23 years old | 5'9" | Unknown reach
Larsen: 29 years old | 5'10" | 70" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Fili is essentially undefeated. His lone loss (against Derrick Burnsed) occurred after he suffered a knee injury and was unable to continue. The injury put him out of action for a year, but since late 2011 he's won 7 in a row, with 6 of them coming by KO/TKO or submission. Andre is just another one of the great young talents to come out of Team Alpha Male, whose camp has seen a significant boost with the help of striking coach Duane Ludwig. Fili has won half of his pro fights by KO or TKO and is more than a formidable fighter no matter where the action takes place.
Larsen didn't last long on TUF 15, losing a decision to eventual champion Michael Chiesa in the preliminary round. As was the case for the rest of the cast, Larsen still managed a spot on the season finale, where he was quickly knocked out by Joe Proctor in the 1st round. Surprisingly, he was granted another fight at UFC on FX 8 in May vs. Lucas Martins. Larsen dominated the first two rounds but couldn't put away the Brazillian, and in round 3 he found himself knocked out in a crazy flurry that saw Martins pull off the victory.
Why should you care?
The scope of this original sentence has changed somewhat, as Fili has missed weight ahead of his UFC debut. Larsen could be thrown a lifeline here following Fili weighing in at 148 lbs. Still, Larsen has to win this and Fili is a damn good prospect, so see how it plays out.