Two middleweights on the rise will take each other on this Saturday night (March 16, 2013) as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 11 veterans Chris Camozzi and Nick Ring duke it out on the UFC 158 main card in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Ring has had a successful run inside the Octagon thus far, but is really trying to take it to the next step and win more convincingly after a pair of controversial decisions have gone his way. He'll be on the warpath defending his home turf against Camozzi.
Camozzi has very quietly won three straight fights inside the Octagon, earning this main card appearance after spoiling Luiz Cane's middleweight debut despite fighting in the Brazilian's backyard. He'll be looking to once again invade hostile territory and come out smelling out like a rose.
Will Ring have his breakthrough performance? Can Camozzi continue to rise to the occasion against the odds? What's the key to victory for both men?
Record: 18-5 overall, 5-2 in the UFC
How he got here: Chris Camozzi got off to a pretty solid start in his MMA career, winning 12 of his first 15 fights and earning an opportunity to compete on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). After earning an opportunity to compete on the show, he was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury.
At the TUF 11 Finale, Camozzi proved his worth inside the Octagon with a unanimous decision victory over James Hammortree. He was released from UFC after a loss to Kyle Noke, but was quickly invited back after scoring a win outside the promotion and he's experienced a bit of a resurgence as of late.
After a tough to Francis Carmont, Camozzi has reeled off three straight wins including a surprising doctor stoppage over Nick Catone and a solid showing against Luiz Cane in hostile territory and is looking to take it to the next level if he can defeat Ring on the PPV main card.
How he gets it done: Camozzi has been winning fights simply by being scrappy and showcasing his heart and tremendous determination. He was on the ropes against Catone, but a nasty elbow forced a doctor stoppage. He had everyone rooting against him in Brazil, but he overcame the odds.
Camozzi is capable of hurting opponents with elbows and knees and perhaps what has been helping him the most lately is his perseverance. Ring has a bad habit of slowing down in the third round and Camozzi could capitalize if he can load up with heavy shots as the fight wears on and Ring potentially fades.
Record: 13-1 overall, 3-1 in the UFC
Key Losses: Tim Boetsch (UFC 135)
How he got here: Nick Ring surprisingly started his MMA career in 2002, but before that, he was a professional kickboxer with over 30 fights. Mixed throughout the early years of his MMA transition, he also competed as a boxer. He was well on his way to a promising career before a devastating knee injury completely derailed his path.
"The Promise" returned with a vengeance three years later, winning his comeback fight in just 39 seconds. After two more first round finishes, he was invited to participate on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) where he was a favorite to win it all.
After a rough start to the show, he was forced to leave following an aggravation of his knee injury, which sidelined him for over a year. He finally returned at UFC 127 in Australia, winning an extremely controversial decision against Riki Fukuda.
Ring made up for the controversy by defeating James Head in his only UFC stoppage, but was derailed by Tim Boetsch in the Mile High City. He got back on track by defeating the winner of his season of TUF, Court McGee in his last bout in controversial fashion and was forced to pull out at the last minute against Costa Philippou in his last bout after becoming ill.
He gets another shot
How he gets it done: While Ring has some solid kickboxing and boxing fundamentals and he should really try to capitalize on his technical advantages over Camozzi.
Look for Ring to put the pressure on Camozzi similar to what Francis Carmont was able to do in his UFC return. Camozzi is very hittable and as long as Ring can really keep up a pace and pump a jab in his face, he has a very realistic shot of hurting his former castmate and maybe even finishing the fight.
Both men are southpaws, so if Ring switches stances, he might have a good chance of landing a left head kick in the middle of a combination if he can blast him with some body shots first to get Camozzi thinking low.