Before the UFC's first fight card goes live on FUEL TV, five preliminary fights will stream live on Facebook. One of the tougher matches of the night features two featherweight grapplers, Jonathan Brookins and Vagner Rocha.
Brookins, winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 12, is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Erik Koch after a lengthy injury layoff. Rocha, on the other hand, is aiming to get a win streak going after defeating Cody McKenzie in his second Octagon appearance.
Both men excel on the ground, which makes for an interesting and stylistic matchup of wrestling vs. jiu-jitsu.
So, who will reign the day? Let's take it point by point...
Neither man is known for their prowess on the feet, and according to FightMetric, both get hit more than they do the hitting.
Against Michael Johnson in the TUF 12 finale, Brookins showed an inability to keep his chin tucked, which led to him resorting to a top-control game to take a decision.
Rocha has historically been a more accurate striker than Brookins, though much of his success came against McKenzie, whose standup is frankly a joke.
Should this fight stay standing, which certainly could happen given each man's grappling prowess, I like Brookins to utilize his slight size advantage and out-punch Rocha.
Slight Edge: Brookins
This is a tough one. Both Brookins and Rocha have earned a vast majority of their wins via submission. Both are the most threatening on the ground.
Rocha's jiu-jitsu is at a much higher level than Brookins, though Brookins is a much stronger wrestler with a stifling top-control game. It's hard to say which will win out, but if either fighter gets in trouble on their feet, it'll be difficult to fall back on their grappling as a way out.
Rocha certainly won't want to end up on his back with Brookins past his guard, but I think it's safe to say that Rocha presents a greater fight-finishing threat on the ground.
Slight Edge: Rocha
I sincerely doubt we'll see either fighter tire out mid-fight, and both are very durable. Rocha has never been stopped, and Brookins sole KO loss came to current featherweight champ Jose Aldo. It's hard to find another aspect of the fight that provides either man with a notable advantage, and I expect this to be a hard-fought, close contest.
Neither fighter is clearly better than the other but Brookins is bigger, and it's pretty hard to overcome a big, strong wrestler if he's able to implement his game.
Pick: Brookins by decision.