18 Mar 2010 13:34:08 PM
(Daniel Roberts grappling highlight reel. Props: YouTube.com/ninjaroberts)
Three hungry up-and-comers will be making their Octagon debuts this Sunday, filling some gaps on the "Vera vs. Jones" preliminary card. But who will explode on the scene, and who will blow the biggest opportunity of their careers like total losers? Read on and get acquainted with…
DANIEL "Ninja" ROBERTS (WW)
Experience: 9-0 record (7 wins by submission), mostly in Oklahoma-based promotions. Most recently scored a submission-via-punches over MMA old-schooler Anthony Macias in January.
Will be fighting: John Howard (13-4, 3-0 UFC)
Lowdown: Roberts is filling in for Anthony Johnson, who dropped off the card last month with an injury. He comes from an amateur wrestling background, and as you can see in the video above, his grappling is ferocious. Roberts currently trains at the Cesar Gracie camp with Strikeforce champions Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, and Gilbert Melendez. He’s thrilled to be fighting John Howard: “I have to say that if I were to pick my opponent for the UFC, it probably would be him. Not to say that he’s a bad guy or an easy win — the fact that he’s 3-0 in the UFC is actually a good thing. I checked him out, I saw what he has, and I definitely feel like my grappling is way ahead of his…if he can last through the first and second round, then he’s pretty tough, because I plan on giving it everything I’ve got…I know a lot of people like to stand up and bang, but I think I’m gonna win a lot of fans over with my grappling. I move really well on the ground and there are not a lot of people that can move like me."