UFC Fight Night 47: Previewing the Newcomers
The UFC is rapidly expanding and putting on more and more shows, and the increased number of events means an increase in roster size.
On Saturday, the UFC returns after a layoff with UFC Fight Night 47. Headlined by Ryan Bader vs. Ovince St. Preux, the event promises to be an exciting night of MMA.
However, apart from the big names, there are some fresh faces on the card. In fact, there are a handful of fighters that are set to begin their journey with the UFC.
Five fighters are making their official UFC debuts this week. Let's take a look at every new fighter.
Camp: Kings MMA
Nolan Ticman has not competed since 2012. That is either going to hurt him with ring rust or it could have seen him make big gains in his game like we saw with Patrick Holohan.
Ticman comes from a wrestling background, but he has been running with Kings MMA. There, he has tightened up his striking a bit in working with Rafael Cordeiro.
His only loss came from a doctor's stoppage in a bout he was likely winning. Other than that, he has three finishes in four wins.
He is a natural 135-pounder as well. Considering he is fighting a natural 125-pounder in Frankie Saenz, this could benefit him.
If he uses his size well and can ward off his wrestling-happy opponent, he could find himself in a favorable position Saturday evening.
Camp: Trident Performance Training
When you think of Arizona State wrestlers in the UFC, a couple of names that come to mind are Ryan Bader, Cain Velasquez and John Moraga. However, recent signee Frankie Saenz is another name you can add to that list of guys from the UFC.
Saenz, a normal 125-pounder, will be fighting at 135 on short notice in this bout. He may have a speed and wrestling advantage on his opponent, though the wrestling category could be contentious.
He is much more experienced than Nolan Ticman, too. He has double the fights. What's more, one of his two losses came via DQ in a bout he was likely ahead on the scorecards in.
He also has five finishes. His striking is not as polished as Ticman's at this point, but if he can use his superior wrestling game and solid submission arsenal, he can keep Ticman at bay throughout the bout.
Camp: Team Quest
Sam Alvey was a cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 16. There, he went 1-1 before getting released back to the regional circuit with most of the cast following the show.
That said, Alvey has been in bigger shows before. The Bellator and MFC veteran has shown great promise, beating the likes of Wes Swofford, Jason South, Jay Silva and Karl Amoussou.
He has very heavy hands. To get into the TUF house, he used a brutal one-punch knockout to send Leo Kuntz packing from the competition. Further proof comes from watching his fights, where he has knocked out 14 fighters.
He also has underrated wrestling. He uses it, for the most part, as a defensive measure, though he will shoot if he feels it's strategically sound.
He is a solid add to the middleweight division. He was just too drawn out when competing at 170 on TUF and had a lack of energy from the extreme weight cut.
Camp: The MMA Lab/Gracie Barra Katy
Undefeated and boasting a trophy case that includes the Invicta 135-pound championship, Lauren Murphy is a huge add to the women's bantamweight division. That said, she has a stiff test in her debut when she meats Olympic silver medalist wrestler and former UFC title challenger Sara McMann.
Murphy is a wrestler herself, depending on well-timed takedowns and a savage top game to batter opponents. From top position, she has brutal ground-and-pound, where she incorporates huge punches and elbows in an attempt to finish opponents.
Just watch her violent pieces of art in the cage against ladies like Jennifer Scott.
She did show some vulnerability in her Invicta title fight against Miriam Nakamoto. She was likely losing before Nakamoto blew out her knee, but she showed great toughness and determination up until that point.
Saturday evening will be a huge test. McMann excels where Murphy holds her strength, so she will have to find another way to be successful.
Camp: Black House/10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
Another RFA veteran, Alan Jouban enters the UFC on a two-fight win streak with the unofficial UFC feeder organization. His most recent fight there was a highly entertaining bout that stole the show against Ricky Legere.
Jouban is a powerful, technical striker, something that should not surprise since he works out with the Black House gym. In fact, six of his nine wins come via knockout, including against UFC and Strikeforce veteran Chris Spang.
He has only been a pro since 2011, so his game may not be complete. Sure, he is a talented prospect, but there are a lot of guys in the UFC with a vast amount of experience that are more rounded than him.
Taking on tough, gritty vet Seth Baczynski will be very hard. He is well-rounded and has been around the block, something that will really test Jouban and show where he is as a mixed martial artist.