Rick "The Horror" Story is on his way up the 170-pound mountain in the UFC. The fighter out of Brave Legion in Vancouver, Wash. is set to take on Dustin Hazelett on the undercard portion of UFC 117.
Story is fresh and ready for a war going into this fight against Hazelett. This feeling is only natural since he's coming off a win in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112 last April against Nick Osipczak. Story fought through irregular conditions and desert heat but still pulled out the win.
"It was really difficult to recover," Story told B/R MMA when talking about the temperature in Abu Dhabi. "That last little flurry that we got into, that kind of won it over in the judges eyes for me."
Although it was his second split decision victory in a row, Story is very capable of finishing a fight — much like he did against Brian Foster at UFC 103 when he submitted him via arm triangle.
Now, with a nice little win streak going, Story faces a competitor who is coming off a thunderous loss to Dustin Hazelett.
Dustin "McLovin" Hazelett is a fighter who is well versed in jiu-jitsu, but in his last outing, decided to stand and trade with someone who's striking was far superior to his.
The outcome? A left hook that had him seeing stars.
The assumption is Hazelett has learned from that mistake and will turn back to his bread-and-butter ground game.
His maneuvers on the canvas have earned him two "Submission of the Night" bonuses, which should be a concern for his pending opponent. Story told B/R MMA that his training has been pretty intense.
"Obviously training jiu-jitsu defense ... that's like number one," Story said. "Especially with Hazelett because he's very well versed."
When asked if he would gamble going to the ground with someone as well versed as Hazelett, Story makes it very clear that he's not worried at all.
"I'm not scared of his ground game," Story exclaimed. "I mean, is it a gamble? Yeah, it's a gamble because he's really good on the ground, but am I scared to go the ground with him? No."
No one is questioning Story when it comes to facing his opponents. With a record of 10-3, the Washington state native is obviously on the winning side of things.
He'll look to make it four in a row against Hazelett this Saturday in Oakland.
With a win in the Bay Area against a former top five fighter, the tides can very well change from being on undercards to being a featured fighter on a main card the next time around.
At today's UFC 117 pre-fight press conference, Dana White hinted that the pending December UFC show would be in Las Vegas. If Story plays his cards right and gets a good win over Hazlett in Oakland, the timing can land him on a pay-per-view in the city of sin.
UFC 117 takes place on Saturday, Aug. 7 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
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