With names like St. Pierre, Bisping, and Franklin being thrown around in Montreal on Saturday it might be easy to overlook the preliminary bouts. But one lightweight prelim is sure to garner some attention as it will pit TUF 6 winner Mac Danzig against relative UFC newcomer, 5-1 Mark Bocek in a lightweight showdown of submission specialists.
Danzig mad a name for himself as a welterweight under the tutelage of two-time welterweight champion Matt Hughes on TUF 6: Team Serra vs. Team Hughes. He dispensed of all his opponents via submission, all in two rounds or fewer, all with a rear naked choke with the exception of an excellent triangle choke secured around the neck of Joe Scarola. In fact, eight of Danzig's seventeen professional wins have come by way of rear naked choke and one by way of triangle choke.
An MMA veteran in his own right, Danzig has already seen more pro fights than the likes of B.J. Penn and opposing TUF coach and UFC 83 main event title defender, Matt Serra. Danzig has amassed an overall record of seventeen wins, four losses, and one draw. Known mostly for his work in the welterweight division, the versatile Danzig became the 155 lb. Gladiator Challenge champion in a bloody battle against Nick Ertl (8-6-0). The battle ended with a TKO (doctor stoppage) but not before the mat and Danzig were both painted red with Ertl's blood. On the sixth season of the Ultimate Fighter, Danzig became known for his humanitarian habits, vegan lifestyle, and short temper. Often squabbling with housemates, he seemed rarely happy but when it came to fight time he appeared oddly at peace, composing his own "ugly poetry" with his striking and jiu-jitsu. Danzig hopes to translate that impressive style to his bout with Mark Bocek.
Mark Bocek (5-1-0), like Danzig, has won the majority of his fights with quick submissions. His most recent victory came in a unanimous decision at UFC 79 against Douglas Evans (5-3-0). The fiery-haired lightweight's only blemish on his record is a first-round TKO loss to Frankie Edgar (8-1-0) and hopes to keep it that way. A good showing against the heavily favored Danzig would certainly catch the attention of fight fans and, not to mention, Joe Silva. The 26-year-old Canadian is known for his Brazillian jiu-jitsu and trains with the Nova Uniao team along with impressive UFC middleweight, Thales Leites(12-1-0).
UFC 83 will be live from Bocek's home country of Canada for the first time ever and will display a welterweight championship bout and a plethora of impressive middleweight bouts. But we are asked to not forget about the little guys, which won't be hard, when millions witness what is sure to be a lightweight submission shootout.