The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Every Ultimate Fighter Finale card is exciting because fans of the show get to see the potential of their favorites from the show with a full camp. One that will surely benefit from the extended training period is our focus for this card.
Nickname – Violent Bob Ross
Affiliation – American Kickboxing Academy
From – Naples, Italy
Height – 6’3″
Weight – 155 lbs (Lightweight)
Record – 4-0 (0-0 UFC)
What makes him impressive
All of his last three fights have been finished by submission, but what is more impressive is that striking is really the strongest part of his game. Being as tall as he is in this division gives him an inherent striking advantage, but he also uses it well. Particularly his use of knees makes it difficult for any opponent to feel comfortable on the inside with him, which is almost necessary to beat someone with that much of a height advantage.
Why he has been overlooked
“Violent Bob Ross” got a bit of a raw deal on The Ultimate Fighter. After winning his first fight he found out his foot was broken and would be out for the remainder of the competition. As a result, fans were robbed of the ability to see more of what he has (and I’d suggest looking up any of his four fights to see just what you are missing).
What makes this a good match-up
Richie Smullen had a similar tough deal on the show. His weight cut went badly, making him bow out of his only fight. However, those that have seen him know he’s a dangerous submission artist out of Ireland with a handful of leg lock finishes in his career. This plays right into Pena’s hands because firstly, he’ll have to get in on Pena to get him down, which is never an easy move. Secondly, he’ll have to take out a guy with three straight subs on his record. Not an easy task.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 145-64-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)