Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
De Fries (blue trunks) and Duffee are two of the young guns in an aging heavyweight division.
Todd Duffee, best known for his seven-second knockout of Tim Hague in 2009, is finally returning to the UFC after being surprisingly and mysteriously cut following his shocking knockout loss to Mike Russow. After sitting out all of 2011 with a knee injury (and making a cameo in Michael Jai White's Never Back Down 2 film), he punched his ticket back to the UFC by punching out long-time Bellator heavyweight Neil Grove.
Phil de Fries joined the UFC in 2011 and is 2-1 so far. He beat less-than-amazing heavyweights Oli Thompson and Rob Broughton, while losing to Stipe Miocic. De Fries owns some solid grappling skills, but at age 26, he remains a prospect with an unknown ceiling.
The heavyweight division is terribly thin these days, and every middle-of-the-pack fighter therein is in his mid-30s (save Stefan Struve). Shane Carwin, Roy Nelson, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, Cheick Kongo, Frank Mir, Daniel Cormier, Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva are all between 33 and 38 years old. How much fight any given one of them has left in the tank at this point is a mystery, but regardless, over the next few years, the heavyweight division is going to be seeing lots and lots of fighters leave.
The fight itself is a standard grappler vs. striker job. The implications, though, reach further than that. Pay close attention to this one, folks.