This Saturday night (August 6, 2011), two of the world's most experienced welterweights will finally square off as Brian "Bad Boy" Ebersole takes on Dennis "Superman" Hallman on the UFC 133 main card. Combined, both men have fought nearly 130 times.
Brian Ebersole finally earned the right to compete in the UFC in his 63rd career fight as a late injury replacement for its recent Australia card and he made the most of the opportunity, halting Chris Lytle's late career resurgence and winning "Fight of the Night" in the process. He's out to prove his first victory wasn't a fluke.
Standing in his way is another massive veteran of the sport in Dennis Hallman, who's riding a two fight win streak in the UFC and is coming off one of the most impressive performances of his lengthy career with a first round TKO of troubled former top contender Karo Parisyan. A victory over Ebersole would keep his momentum steadily chugging forward.
Will Ebersole earn another up-vote for his performance this Saturday night? Or will Hallman finally find the target that "Bad Boy's chest seems to be pointing to? Which veteran will continue to impress?
Let's find out:
Record: 47-14-1 (1 No Contest) overall, 1-0 in the UFC
How he got here: Brian Ebersole had an incredibly long road to the UFC. He spent the first 17 fights of his career fighting near his native midwest local circuit before finding a temporary home in Mexico.
From 2002-2004, Ebersole would fight a ridiculous 23 times, with 11 of those bouts taking place south of the border. After another year spent on the local circuit fighting for six separate promotions in six fights, the Indiana native would find a surprising new home down under.
"Bad Boy" would fight 13 of his next 15 matches in Australia over the next five years, culminating in a surprise last minute inclusion on the UFC 127 card against veteran Chris Lytle when his original opponent, Carlos Condit, had dropped out of the card.
Ebersole not only stepped up, but he would make a huge impact, smashing Lytle over the course of three rounds and nearly finishing the fight in the second after blasting "Lights Out" with a knee to halt the fellow Indiana native's four fight winning streak in the promotion.
At 30 years old and after over 60 professional fights, Brian Ebersole had finally arrived. He was paired up against fellow veteran Dennis Hallman for UFC 133 and their bout was promoted to the main card when the Rich Franklin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira fight was scratched.
How he gets it done: Ebersole is an absolute animal in the cage, going for unique, diverse and extremely risky attacks. His cartwheel kick knockout is still one of the craziest finishes in MMA history.
He wasn't afraid to dust the strike off and use it multiple times against Chris Lytle in his UFC debut either. Ebersole is dangerous with every appendage, simply because he's crazy enough to throw them with reckless abandon.
He has an NCAA division I wrestling background and he uses that to work a respectable submission arsenal. The Australian transplant is one of a very small number of fighters who's successfully pulled off the inverted triangle choke so he's not afraid to go for wild submission attempts either.
With Ebersole, expect the unexpected. He's got an incredibly funky style which won over many fans at UFC 127, showboating during the fight would not be surprising at all. He'll likely try to use his wrestling defensively in this match to keep the fight standing and work his wide array of standing strikes.
Record: 43-13-2 (1 No Contest) overall, 3-4 in the UFC
How he got here: Dennis Hallman is one of the most interesting cases in the UFC. Back when Matt Hughes was an absolute force at welterweight, "Superman" defeated him twice in less than 40 seconds combined.
The submission wrestler would be given a title shot against Jen Pulver for the lightweight title at UFC 33 but would come up short over the course of five rounds, losing a unanimous decision. Over the next two years, he would accumulate a record of 11 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws and a No Contest to earn another shot at the UFC.
Unfortunately, he would lose to Frank Trigg for the second time in his career via first round TKO. It would take seven more fights on the local circuit, but he earned another opportunity in the UFC, this time fighting at middleweight against Jorge Rivera where he would lose via unanimous decision.
After a short stint in both the IFL and Strikeforce, Hallman would make his fourth stop in the UFC, and, despite soundly defeating John Howard over the course of 14 minutes and 50 seconds, he would be stood up by the referee and knocked out with five seconds left in the fight.
Hallman bounced back with consecutive victories over Ben Saunders and Karo Parisyan, the latter being a knockout standing in less than two minutes to earn his fight against fellow veteran Ebersole.
How he gets it done: Dennis Hallman is primarily a submission wrestler. While the Parisyan knockout was impressive, it was only the fifth of his career while he's had 38 victories come by way of submission.
Since Brian Ebersole was able to soundly outstrike Chris Lytle in the stand-up department, it would be wise for Hallman to use his superb wrestling and try to smother the "Bad Boy" on the ground.
"Superman" can be a very tough nullifier on the canvas. He was dominating John Howard with his wrestling before the late stand-up and he completely neutralized Ben Saunders' Muay Thai attack with takedowns over the course of three rounds.
With Ebersole's level of submission defense (he's been submitted once in the last six years), expect Hallman to work the positional dominance game, grinding out a decision over the course of three rounds.
Fight "X-Factor:" With experience being practically a wash for the first time in years for both men, this fight may come down to who's physically stronger, more athletic and faster.
Hallman has spent the majority of his career fighting at lightweight and welterweight, while Ebersole has fought as far up as heavyweight. It seems both have found a proper home at 170 pounds, but Ebersole's experience against bigger, stronger foes may be a huge advantage in this fight.
Ebersole also has youth on his side, being five years younger than Hallman. If those five years can help him fend off "Superman's" takedown attempts, this could be a long night for the submission wrestler.
Bottom Line: Both of these men are extremely experienced. Hallman's knockout of Parisyan was not something one can expect to be repeated, unless he enjoyed it so much that he'll try desperately to have that feeling again. This will likely be a battle of Ebersole's crazy and wild striking against Hallman's wrestling, submissions and takedowns. The mere fact that Ebersole is participating in this fight should make it watchable.
Who will come out on top at UFC 133? Tell us in the comments below!