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UFC 203 fight card primer: Mickey Gall vs. CM Punk

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Yes, it's finally happening. CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall. All the details are here in our Bloody Elbow primer.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The most talked about fight at UFC 203 sees former WWE world champion CM Punk (MMA Debut; UFC Debut) make his much anticipated debut as he takes on Mickey Gall (2-0 MMA; 1-0 UFC). This three round Welterweight fight is 3rd on the UFC 203 PPV broadcast. Neither man is ranked in the Welterweight top 15, obviously. UFC 203: Miocic vs. Overeem airs live from Cleveland, OH this Saturday, September 10. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here. There's been talk of CM Punk coming to the UFC since he left the WWE in 2014, and Gall has been tagged as a possible opponent for much of that time. There's been a fair amount of criticism of this fight - it's hard to think of another main card UFC fight where the two opponents had a combined total of just 2 MMA fights between them since the very earliest days of the sport. But Punk's status earns him the PPV spot, and Gall is the man who gets to face him, so here we are.

How do these two stack up?

Punk: 37 years old | 6'2" | 73" reach
Gall: 24 years old | 6'2" | 74" reach

What have these two done recently?

Punk: - - -
Gall: W - Mike Jackson (Sub) | W - Ron Templeton (Sub) | --

How did these two get here?

CM Punk gets here by being one of the biggest professional wrestling stars in the past decade. Not THE biggest, but a big one. For you old school wrestling fans who wonder about his status, think of him along the same lines as Randy Savage to John Cena's Hulk Hogan. In 2014 the disgruntled Punk left WWE. As a longtime and very vocal fan of MMA, plus a very amateur jiu jitsu practitioner, it wasn't long before the talk of Punk in an MMA fight started up. At UFC 181, the company announced his signing. He spent the past year and a half training with Duke Roufus and his team up in Milwaukee, plus dealing with some lingering injuries from his wrestling career. Now, he's in shape, and ready to debut.

Mickey Gall was just one fight into his pro career when he was picked up by Dana White in the Lookin' for a Fight series. He made his UFC debut in February, taking out the 0-0 Mike Jackson in 45 seconds. Gall has a good submission game, which came from his time working with UFC veteran Jim Miller. Gall turned pro just last November. Now, he's been given an absolute golden ticket - the kind of opportunity a 2-0 fighter never gets.

Why should you care?

You're either excited for this already, or you hate it. Nothing I can say here is likely to change that. But Punk is nothing if not a showman, and this is going to be a spectacle. I'm pumped.