(Morecraft vs. Josh Diekmann, 11/14/09; fight starts at the 2:27 mark.)
Two minor-league MMA prospects will be taking a major leap in competition this Saturday, as they make their Octagon debuts in the preliminary card of UFC 117. As we saw with Charles Oliveira at "Jones vs. Matyushenko" on Sunday, sometimes dreams do come true. And sometimes they get crushed and blown away like dust. Get to know the new guys below and keep an eye out for ‘em this weekend…
CHRISTIAN MORECRAFT (HW)
Experience: 6-0 record (all wins by first-round stoppage, three within the first minute) competing in the Reality Fighting and Cage Fighting Xtreme promotions. All fights have taken place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Most recently scored a submission-via-strikes victory over Lee Beane in May to win CFX’s heavyweight title.
Will be facing: Stefan Struve (19-4, 3-2 UFC)
Lowdown: Another large addition to the UFC’s heavyweight division, Morecraft is a 6’6, 258-pound smashing machine that has been drawing lots of attention in Massachusetts. The 23-year-old began studying the sport with John Burke at the Dungeon MMA Academy, and now calls the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance his home. His take on MMA: "For every way there is to put somebody (in a hold), there’s a way of getting out if you do it at the right moment. And everything flows. It’s an art.” Morecraft digs ’80s metal, and walked out to Kiss’s "Calling Dr. Love" for the Beane fight.
TODD BROWN (LHW)
Experience: 11-1 as a pro with 1 no-contest in midwestern regional leagues, nine wins by stoppage. Hasn’t competed since last November, when he defeated Rodney Sleepers by second-round TKO.
Will be facing: Tim Boetsch (11-3, 2-2 UFC)
Lowdown: A late replacement for Thiago Silva, Brown runs Midwest Martial Arts in Osceola, Indiana. The 38-year-old is seasoned kickboxer with a brown belt in BJJ. Judging from the interview segments in the above highlight reel, he seems to think very highly of his abilities. Brown feels that his previous experience of cornering training partner Steve Lopez at UFC 103 will temper the Octagon jitters a bit: "I train hard, and I know that the day of (the fight), I’m going to be a little bit, ‘Ooh, this is the big show.’ I was like that when I was in Stevie Lopez’s corner. ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ I’ve kind of walked through it in the corner situation. Now I’ll be doing it as a fighter, and quite frankly, once we hit each other, it’s just a fight. Everything else kind of disappears…Have I had a proper training camp? No, but it doesn’t matter. I’m going to go in and fight my ass off and come out on top. That’s the plan."