(Alexandre Ferreira vs. Lew Polley, 2/29/08. Props: YouTube.com/IFL)
At this Saturday’s UFC 122 event in Germany, four men will begin their journeys from UFC preliminary card prospects to…whatever they end up becoming. For example, our first-ever "New Guys" column included a unknown kid by the name of Jon Jones. Our most recent "New Guys" column included a guy who got beat up by Rob Broughton then fired for steroid use. So, there’s a pretty wide swing here in terms of potential success. Let’s meet the latest batch of Octagon newbies…
ALEXANDRE "Cacareco" FERREIRA (LHW)
Experience: 18-6 record dating back to 1998, with 17 wins by first-round submission, including victories over Heath Herring, Bob Schrijber, Branden Lee Hinkle, and Fabio Maldonado. Has made appearances in Rings, the IFL, and Jungle Fight, among other promotions.
Will be facing: Vladimir Matyushenko (24-5, 5-3 UFC)
Lowdown: A stocky fireplug of a man, the 31-year-old "Cacareco" began fighting professionally while still in his teens. Ferreira comes from a decorated BJJ/luta livre background, and his grappling accomplishments include a 2nd-place finish in the 2003 ADCC Absolute Division tournament, where he placed ahead of Fabricio Werdum, Marcelo Garcia, Saulo Ribeiro, Marcio Cruz, and Jeff Monson.
This Q&A on UFC.com reveals that Alexandre’s favorite striking technique is the "takedown" (!) so don’t expect the guy to do much standing and banging. When asked which college he attended, Ferreira responded "Unfortunately I could not go to college; my college was my survival as a human." He hasn’t competed since a 70-second kimura victory over Walter Mazurkievicz last October. Ferreira was supposed to face Jamal Patterson at "Shine Fights: Mayorga vs. Thomas" in May, but that event famously imploded at the last minute.
PASCAL "Panzer" KRAUSS (WW)
Experience: 9-0 record in various European promotions, with all wins by stoppage within the first two rounds (7 subs, 2 TKOs). Most recently won the Cage Warriors welterweight title in May by defeating John Quinn via 2nd-round rear-naked choke.
Will be facing: Mark Scanlon (see below)
Lowdown: Krauss is the lone German on the prelims, and has compiled a diverse arsenal of fighting experience in his 23 years. Krauss began boxing when he was 14, and went on to win a German junior boxing title; he also spent time wrestling in his youth, and is actually the son of an Olympic wrestler. The 170-pounder picked up BJJ in 2007, and has since been awarded a blue belt by highly respected trainer Roberto "Gordo" Correa. Though he’s still based in Germany and is currently studying sports science at Freiburg University, Krauss spent time this year training in the States with Renzo Gracie and the Cesar Gracie camp.
Krauss cites Michael Bisping as his inspiration to get into MMA: "I switched on the television and saw Michael Bisping on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ People often confused us because of our similar looks, so I had sympathy for him right from the beginning. When he won the season, I was hooked and said to myself, ‘This is what I want to do, as well.’" He feels that Germany hasn’t produced any great MMA champions because things are too nice there: "I think that, due to the conditions in Germany, many people have lost their fighting spirit. You don’t really have to struggle hard to make a living here. Convenience and luxury are society diseases. That is why fighters from countries where there is still more of a struggle for survival have been more successful in MMA than Germany so far.”
(Mark Scanlon vs. Michael Reid. Fight starts at the 1:33 mark, and ends at the 1:43 mark. Props: OmmacTV)
MARK "Scanno" SCANLON (WW)
Experience: 7-0 record (all wins by stoppage, six in the first round) with multiple appearances in the Cage Gladiators and Fight Stars promotions. Last competed on October 2nd, when he knocked out Michael Reid with a head kick in just 10 seconds at an OMMAC event.
Will be facing: Pascal Krauss (see above)
Lowdown: Scanlon comes in as a late replacement for undefeated American prospect Kenny Robertson, who was forced to withdraw last month due to injury. Fighting out of Liverpool, Scanlon trains at Team Kaobon alongside Terry Etim, Paul Kelly, Paul Taylor, Paul Sass, and probably some other guys named Paul. Scanlon worked as a car salesman before taking up fighting; his heroes are his mother and Mike Tyson.
CARLOS EDUARDO "Ta Danado" ROCHA (WW)
Experience: 8-0 record (seven wins by submission, 1 by TKO) in various German promotions.
Will be facing: Kris McCray (5-1, 0-1 UFC)
Lowdown: Rocha grew up homeless and without a family on the streets of Joao Pessoa. Thanks to the guidance of BJJ guru Darcio Lira, Rocha found his life’s purpose, and was eventually invited to teach jiu-jitsu and fight in Germany. Rocha is now a well-known figure in his adopted homeland, but went back to Brazil to prepare for his UFC debut, at the Gracie Fusion camp in Rio. As he told UFC.com, "Fans who are looking at my fights and see that I only have submissions, I warn them — my life is full of continuous learning; I don’t focus my training on taking feet, necks, arms. I’m entering the Octagon to display what a martial arts practitioner has best — wisdom. It’s the wisdom of improving what’s going well, wisdom to learn, stay sharp and do the work properly to overcome the foe." Rocha’s opponent Kris McCray grew up in Germany, and is dropping to 170 from middleweight after losing to Court McGee at the TUF 11 finals.