UFC 143 Fight Card: 5 Names You Should Know

Matt MadsenCorrespondent IIFebruary 2, 2012

UFC 143 Fight Card: 5 Names You Should Know

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    The UFC has some huge names right now.

    From Anderson Silva to Jon "Bones" Jones, the sport is teeming with superstars who are becoming household names. With the sport obviously on the rise, the knowledge base of fans will inevitably grow, too.

    This Saturday's fight card will have some fighters on display that you may or may not already know about. And there are a few you should definitely get to know. In a sport quickly filling up with talent, these guys are still trying to establish themselves.

    One of them already has, but possesses a stature he does not deserve.

    Let's take a look at the fighters of UFC 143 you should get familiar with.

Fabricio Werdum

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    If you don't already know about Fabricio Werdum, it's about time you learned.

    Ranked as the No. 6 heavyweight in the world by MMAWeekly.com, Werdum faces Roy Nelson this weekend. A win over Nelson would help cement him as a serious contender in the UFC heavyweight division.

    But honestly, he shouldn't need the help.

    Werdum, nicknamed "Vai Cavalo" (means "Go Horse"), already boasts career victories over current top contender Alistair Overeem and former world No. 1 heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. He was the first fighter to best Fedor, and that submission victory can be seen in the video clip above.

    Should Werdum defeat Nelson this weekend, it should set the stage for a matchup with one of the UFC heavyweight elite. He could be looking at a matchup with former champion Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir or perhaps even Shane Carwin in his return from injury later in 2012.

Roy Nelson

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    Thanks to Brock Lesnar's retirement, Roy Nelson has acquired a new title: most overrated UFC heavyweight.

    "Big Country" has faced notable UFC fighters in Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski. Unfortunately for him, he lost to all three.

    In fairness, he took both Mir and dos Santos to decisions, both of which were miracles. He was completely outfought in both matches and in every way. He looked terrible throughout, and the fact that he made it to the decisions is a testament to his will to stay alive.

    But his reputation as a fighter has been completely overstated, and even Dana White called him out.

    Keep your eye on Nelson; he'll be the one taking up way too much of the screen.

Renan Barão

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    Renan Barão is riding one of the most impressive streaks in MMA right now. Not only is he 27-1-1, but he hasn't lost a fight since his MMA debut.

    His last loss?

    In 2005.

    One could argue that his UFC experience is limited, and that we can't truly judge his ability yet.

    To that I say, true. But he sure is exciting to watch.

    In his second UFC fight, Barão submitted Brad Pickett by rear-naked choke in Round 1. The submission earned him Fight of the Night honors and a decent bonus check.

    Hop on this Brazilian youngster's bandwagon and watch him this Saturday. He won't disappoint.

Clifford Starks

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    At 8-0, Clifford Starks is starting to make a name for himself.

    With only one UFC fight under his belt, his experience is definitely up for debate. What are not up for debate are his natural abilities. He is a terrific athlete with a background in wrestling.

    Of his eight career victories, three have come by KO, one by submission and four by decision. His endurance has come into play on a number of occasions, including his UFC debut against Dustin Jacoby. He defeated Jacoby in a unanimous 30-27 decision.

    If Starks can stop Ed Herman on Saturday, it certainly will propel him further up the UFC middleweight rankings.

Edwin Figueroa

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    Though he'll be fighting as a part of the undercard on Saturday, Edwin Figueroa is a name to watch going forward.

    The bantamweight fighter has amassed an 8-1 record, including six wins by knockout. In a weight division often knocked for a lack of power, Figueroa has displayed the ability to finish fights.

    UFC president Dana White likes that ability.

    His only career loss came against fellow UFC newcomer Michael McDonald. The fight was an excellent one, with both fighters trading strikes and submission attempts before the fight was ultimately taken to a decision. The fighters earned Fight of the Night honors.

    You'll have to tune in early to catch it, but if you have the time you should check out Edwin Figueroa. His power and vicious strikes could someday land him a spot among the bantamweight elite.