Forty-seven combined years on Earth, 47 combined mixed martial arts (MMA) fights on record.
This Saturday (Feb. 16, 2013), 25-year-old Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao takes on 22-year-old challenger Michael McDonald in the UFC on Fuel TV 7 main event, which is scheduled for Wembley Arena in London, England.
It marks the first trip for the UFC to the United Kingdom in 2013 and the promotion is touting a solid supporting cast.
In addition to the headliner, Cub Swanson and Dustin Poirier will duke it out in the co-main event with a future Featherweight title shot possibly on the line, while exciting talents like Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson will look to wow the English crowd.
Yesterday, we previewed the first three bouts that comprise the initial UFC on Fuel TV 7 Facebook portion of the "Prelims" under card right here. Today, we share breakdowns of the remaining three that will stream live -- and for free -- on Facebook before the FUEL TV event starts at 3 p.m. ET.
Let's get cracking:
155 lbs.: Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte
One of the top finishers in the Lightweight division, injuries have constrained Terry Etim (15-4) to only two Octagon appearances since April 2010, a 17-second guillotine win over Edward Faaloloto and a stunning wheel kick knockout loss to Edson Barboza.
The 27-year-old Englishman, who has gone the distance just once in victory, stands an impressive five inches taller than Forte and will compete for the eleventh time in the Octagon.
After shouldering the unfortunate burden of being Daniel Sarafian’s first opponent in the house proper on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" and falling by submission, Renee Forte (7-2) made his UFC debut 15 pounds south, falling via late submission to Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Sergio Moraes.
Forte, fighting out of Team Nogueira, will make both his lightweight debut and first appearance outside of Brazil this Saturday.
This is a bounce-back fight, plain and simple.
Forte is a decent grappler, but his takedowns are effectively nonexistent, his striking is below-average, and this is his debut at 155 pounds. Etim possesses a huge advantage on the feet, especially since he towers almost a half-foot over Forte, and should be able to batter him at will.
While a ground battle between the two would be something to see, Etim’s striking arsenal will be in full display as he stuffs Forte’s takedowns and spanks him standing for three dominant rounds before taking his back and giving his hometown fans the "W."
Prediction: Etim by third-round submission
155 lbs.: Paul Sass vs. Danny Castillo
After three consecutive first-round submissions in the UFC, including an impressive triangle of Jacob Volkmann, the grappling aggression that made Paul Sass (13-1) such a hot commodity came back to bite him this past September as gritty vet Matt Wiman coaxed a tap out of him less than four minutes into their fight.
The previously-unbeaten "Sassangle" had submitted 12 of his 13 opponents, nine by triangle and three by heel hook. His sole trip to the judges was a decision win over BAMMA standout Rob Sinclair.
Danny Castillo (14-5) looked well on his way to scoring his seventh win in eight fights against Michael Johnson, dropping the "Blackzillian" early and locking in what looked to be a fight-ending arm-triangle. Unfortunately for the Alpha Male-trained product, Johnson’s arteries proved tougher than expected as he survived the round, only to turn around and put Castillo to sleep early in the second.
Four inches shorter than Sass, Castillo owns wins over current Featherweight contenders Dustin Poirier and Ricardo Lamas.
Sass may enjoy pulling guard, but his wrestling is nothing to scoff at -- taking down Wiman with no setup is pretty darn impressive, especially since everyone and their mother knew Sass’s gameplan going into that fight. Sure, his striking is still too rough for him to exploit his height and length advantages, but his improving ability to dictate where the fight takes place has me convinced of his victory.
Castillo is by far superior on the feet, but his lack of one-shot stopping power makes it unlikely that he can shut down Sass’s relentless attempts to take the fight south. Amidst an onslaught of takedowns and guard pulls, Castillo will fall into Sass' world eventually.
And he’s not leaving in one piece.
Prediction: Sass by first-round submission
145 lbs.: Josh Grispi vs. Andy Ogle
In what may be the single most precipitous plunge in recent MMA memory, Josh Grispi ’s (14-4) career has been in a death spiral since Jose Aldo pulled out of their UFC 125 clash, paving the way for Poirier to beat the snot out of him for three painful rounds. A bounce-back fight against George Roop backfired spectacularly as the lanky striker put "The Fluke" down with a punch to the body, after which Rani Yahya tapped him out with a gorgeous north-south choke.
Grispi -- who had finished eight consecutive fights in the first round before facing Poirier -- is almost certainly fighting for his UFC life ... in hostile territory.
Impressive as his upset of Mike Rio on TUF 15 was, there would be no six-figure contract for Andy Ogle (8-2), who was blown away by a bone-rattling elbow from Al Iaquinta in the quarterfinals. The knockout delayed his UFC debut until Sept. 2012, when he dropped a razor-thin decision to previous TUF 14 veteran Akira Corassani.
This defeat snapped a seven-fight win streak for "The Little Axe," who has yet to fight outside of Great Britain.
Grispi should win this fight easily. Hell, he should have won the Yahya and Roop fights easily. He’s a huge featherweight who’s shown great striking, wrestling and submissions throughout his career. He’s also shown absolutely no ability to bring them to bear lately.
Ogle isn’t a world-beater and strikes me as just kind of "meh" in most areas, but he’s consistent, tough and possesses mental fortitude that Grispi apparently lacks.
I really have no clue how this fight will go, but the most likely outcome is that Grispi’s precipitous freefall continues as Ogle edges him on the feet for a close, but definitive, decision win.
Prediction: Ogle by unanimous decision
Title fight, contender fight and knockout artists as far as the eye can see. It sounds like a recipe for success to me, Maniacs.
See you Saturday.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire card on fight day (Sat., Feb. 16, 2013), starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, as well as the main card, which is slated to air at 3 p.m. ET on FUEL TV.