UFC 166 is back to 13 fights on the card not long after it appeared that a bout between Charles Oliveira and Jeremy Larsen would be scrapped. Oliveira suffered an injury and was pulled from the card, but a member of Team Alpha Male has stepped up on short notice to meet Larsen.
Andre Fili, who appeared on B/R's top 10 featherweights outside the UFC, will step up to fight Larsen in the featherweight division. Fili, who is just once beaten, will have less than a month to prepare for the UFC and TUF 15 vet.
Fili (12-1) will try to keep Team Alpha Male's hot streak going. Since the addition of Duane Ludwig as head coach, they have won all but two bouts. The only two losses came outside the UFC, as Justin Buchholz dropped a close decision to Clay Collard and Daniel Romero was tapped out by Caol Uno.
Known affectionately as "Touchy," Fili has been a staple of the west coast regionals. His lone loss came in the fifth round of a fight due to a leg injury, so he could easily be undefeated.
He is a finisher that has knocked out six opponents and tapped another three. In training with Team Alpha Male, you know that he is going to have some solid wrestling to go along with dangerous striking. Plus, he is long and lanky, so he can bang from a distance.
Possibly the best part about him is that he is extremely comfortable off his back. He has great sweeps and submissions, which makes the fighter on top of him incredibly uncomfortable. If you want proof of that, check out his fight with Enoch Wilson at Tachi Palace Fights 15.
Fili has the chance to be a staple at 145. He is skilled and incredibly charismatic, a trait you see in a lot of the Alpha Male guys like Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Lance Palmer.
His fight with Larsen will be very interesting. Fili had already been training for a fight later this year at welterweight, two weight classes above his normal division.
Larsen is a former lightweight, but will still likely be at a size disadvantage. He is known to be comfortable on the feet, so Fili's best bet may be for him to drag him down and tap him out in a similar game plan to Efrain Escudero.
Either way, this fight is instantaneously in the running for Fight of the Night.
Stay tuned for more news and updates from the UFC.