Dropping weight classes seems to be all the rage these days for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters. Often times, a fighter will dip down as a last ditch effort to resurrect/refresh a struggling mixed martial arts (MMA) career that never really got off the ground.
That is not the case, however, for Sunderland, England's own Ross Pearson.
"Real Deal" won The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 reality television competition as the best 155-pounder on the show. As a lightweight in the UFC, Pearson compiled a record of 4-2. Not shabby by any means.
Pearson merely felt that he could make more of an impact at featherweight, a decision that will be tested tonight (Fri., Dec. 30, 2011) as he squares off against Junior Assuncao at UFC 141 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Assuncao will be fighting from a similar place as he, too, has recently made the drop from lightweight to featherweight, winning his 145-pound UFC debut against Eddie Yagin with a unanimous decision win at UFC 135 on Sept. 24, 2011, in Denver, Colorado.
Join me after the jump, as we take a look at the UFC 141 match-up between these two, newly minted featherweights, Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assuncao:
Pearson's base is largely predicated upon boxing, judo and Taekwondo. He likes to stand and trade -- it's his modus operandi. Assuncao is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt who has seven submission victories throughout the course of his seven-year professional MMA career.
Styles make fights.
As is generally the case, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva doesn't throw his fighters any softballs. Pearson is being done no favors by being handed Assuncao as his inaugural featherweight opponent.
Indeed, Assuncao will certainly look to give Pearson a harsh welcome to the division. He will also almost certainly look to take matters to the mat, early and often.
This fight sincerely feels as though the result will depend on which fighter is able to impose his will first.
Will Pearson be able to make a victorious featherweight debut? Or will Assuncao play the role of spoiler and use his jiu-jitsu to foil Pearson and come out on top?
Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 141 results of all the "Lesnar vs. Overeem" PPV action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, Spike TV "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Saturday morning.
See you then!