In the WW division, UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes will feature Ricardo Funch (8-2, 0-2 UFC) against Mike Pyle (21-8-1, 4-3 UFC) to kick off the UFC on FX starting at 8:00 p.m. ET. The PPV kicks off Saturday at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Paulo Thiago was originally scheduled to fight Pyle, but had to pull out of the bout due to injury. In other words, this bout had significance at one time, but is now simply a showcase fight for Pyle. Though Paulo Thiago's last performance wasn't much to write home about with a relatively lackluster victory over David Mitchell. However, that fight would have been more compelling. Funch washed out of the UFC, and is coming in on short notice against a notoriously crafty veteren.
How do these two stack up?
Funch: 31 years old | 5'10
Pyle: 36 years old | 6'1
What have these two done recently?
Funch: W - Ryan Quinn | L - Claude Patrick | L - Johny Hendricks
Pyle: L- Rory MacDonald | W - Ricardo Almeida | W - John Hathaway
How did these two get here?
By accident. At least for Funch. While his fight with Hendricks was relatively fun for a mostly grappling oriented scrap, he was outclassed against Patrick. Pyle has been known to lose to fighters you'd think he was better than, but Funch has none of the attributes to capitalize on a stuck-on-autopilot Mike Pyle.
Against Rory Markham, Pyle could blame the power. Against Matt Horwich, Pyle could blame Matt's grappling prowess. Against Brock Larson, Pyle could blame Brock's raw strength. I struggle to think of what Pyle could possibly blame on a loss to Funch, who simply isn't dynamic, nor is he especially strong.
I don't expect it to be a cakewalk, but I do think Pyle should be offensive enough to rattle Funch. He's a joy to watch on the ground, and with Funch's pedigree I'm hoping for a ground war. Although perhaps I'm simply being too optimistic for a minor scrap.
Why should you care?
Because there's a lot of interesting betting going on in these prelims. Not here though. If there's a reason to care it's because Pyle is dynamic, and typically entertaining.
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