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UFC 156 fight card primer: Francisco Rivera vs. Edwin Figueroa

Bloody Elbow gives you a brief glimpse of every fight from UFC 156 tonight in Las Vegas, including the show's opening bout between bantamweights Francisco Rivera and Edwin Figueroa.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There are only two bantamweight fights at UFC 156, and both are on Facebook. Francisco Rivera (8-2 1 NC MMA, 1-1 1 NC UFC) fights Edwin Figueroa (9-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in the event's curtain raiser, and it could be a very entertaining battle.

Figueroa has not fought in just about one year, while Rivera is coming off a TKO win since overturned due to a positive drug test. The two Facebook bouts will air on both the UFC's official FB page, but also on Youtube at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT. Following the completion of the two fights, the rest of the preliminaries air on FX at 8 PM ET.

How do these two stack up?

Rivera: 31 years old | 5'9" | 70" reach
Figueroa: 28 years old | 5'7" | 69" reach

What have these two done recently?

Rivera: NC - Roland Delorme (Failed Drug Test) | W - Alex Soto (UD) | W - Antonio Duarte (KO)
Figueroa: W - Alex Cacares (SD) | W - Jason Reinhardt (TKO) | L - Michael McDonald (UD)

How did these two get here?

Rivera's first Zuffa fight was a short-notice bout against 145 lbs contender Erik Koch at WEC 50 in 2011. Koch easily knocked him out in 1 round. Another loss in the UFC at 135 lbs sent him to regionals, where he recorded two impressive KO wins in Tachi Palace Fights along the way. He returned to the UFC as an injury replacement for Azamat Gashimov, and he sent Alex Soto out of the UFC. At UFC 149, Rivera showcased his powerful striking in knocking out Roland Delorme in round 1, but that result has since been overturned to a No Contest after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Figueroa's UFC debut came in Seattle against the now #1 BW contender Michael McDonald. Like Rivera, he fought on short-notice (for the injured Nick Pace). While Figueroa lost by decision he put up a very entertaining fight. His next two fights were wins over Jason Reinhardt and Alex Caceres, although the Caceres win is considered contestable even with Caceres' point-deductions for groin kicks. Injuries have kept him inactive since the Caceres fight, so we'll see how much ring-rust plays a factor in his return.

Why should you care?

This should be just plain ol' fun to watch. Figueroa already has a FOTN bonus in his pocket and Rivera has dynamite in his hands, so expect a great start to the evening.

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