Even without his last name, the instant Pettis walks into camera view fans will know what to expect based on how much he resembles his older brother, UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Sergio is equally ripe with ability and possesses similar flash, but hasn’t had a chance to test his skills against the best yet while tearing it up on the regional scene. Campuzano will give him an excellent obstacle to attempt to overcome. The WEC veteran is on a five-fight winning streak including a decision over Hideo Tokoro in October. His experience will definitely provide him with an edge over Pettis, but whether or not he can deal with the 20-year old’s explosiveness remains to be seen. They’re also flyweights, so kudos to the UFC brass for adding more 125-pound talent. This bout won’t be a barnburner but anyone who appreciates high-level grappling is sure to enjoy the effort put forth by High/Lapsley. Both men certainly have some stand-up ability, but each excels on the ground. High has eight submission wins to his credit, while Lapsley has tapped out 15 of the foes he’s beaten. They’re also both 8-2 in their last ten tilts and coming off wins so they have momentum working in their favor. All due respect to Figueroa, but this pairing is all about how Perez will do in the wake of his Split Decision defeat to Takeya Mizugaki last August. It was his first loss in the UFC and snapped an eight-fight winning streak. The 23-year old is seen by many as the future of the bantamweight division and he’s a star in Mexico, a market the UFC wants to tap sooner than later. That being said, Figueroa has been backed into a corner after losing his last two bouts and being overshadowed by Perez’s hype, so he could come out guns blazing and shock the world. It’s not Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks, but Story and Ebersole are both established veterans with plenty of positives at play. Let’s not forget Story is the one man to have beaten Hendricks and he also owns past wins over Jake Ellenberger and Thiago Alves. Of course, he’s lost two of his last three fights, so Story’s at risk of having peaked too early in his career. Meanwhile, Ebersole is a highly-entertaining competitor with a knack for finishing opponents. He’s been out of action for more than a year due to injury and should come ready to fight, well-sculpted chest hair and all. Leites came back from the regional-promotion grave in August with a decision win over Tom Watson, earning a fourth straight victory and seventh nod in eight efforts since being cut by the UFC in 2009. Herman is also coming off a victory and is no pushover. He’ll bring the fight to Leites and no doubt shoot for an early knockout before things hit the mat and his less-than impressive ground defense comes into play. Each man is on the cusp of his mid-thirties and knows how important success is at this point in their careers, so expect a closely-contested clash when Herman-Leites lock horns. Honestly, this fight probably should have replaced Ali Bagautinov-Tim Means as the PPV opener with Leites-Herman headlining the undercard, but it’s hard to complain about getting to watch Cerrone-Dunham throw down for free. Both fighters are aggressive strikers with BJJ ability to back it up. Neither is afraid of engaging and both are willing to shed blood if it means landing some stiff shots. They’re also coming off losses, so there’s little doubt Dunham and Cerrone will be hungry to win as well. Without doubt, this duel has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the
UFC’s existence and the organization has decided to deliver an amazing show in honor of the event. While boasts one of the most stacked main cards in history, the preliminary portion of the lineup deserves some attention too. There are established veterans set for action, as well as a blue-chip prospect or two and some up-and-coming stars hoping to rebound from recent stumbles. Here are sis scraps from the UFC 167 fans should make a genuine effort to watch… (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC 167