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Ultimate Fight Night 15: The New Guys


(Dan Miller kneebars the crap out of Ryan McGivern to win the IFL’s middleweight title in May. Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)

Like other Fight Night shows in the past, tomorrow’s “Diaz vs. Neer” joint features an undercard packed with fresh faces (though there’s no guarantee those faces will be too fresh by the end of the night). Let’s take a look at some of the guys who will be trying to prove themselves in the Octagon for the first time — and who you might get to see in action if they’re on the giving or receiving end of a quick finish.

JOE VEDEPO (MW)
Experience: 7-1 record (3 TKOs, 3 subs), primarily in small, Iowa-based promotions. Last fight was a submission victory over Brian Green in June.
Will be facing: Alessio Sakara (12-7, 3-4 w/1 no-contest in the UFC)
Lowdown: The two questions that come to mind are “who?” and “why?”. We can’t really answer that last question, but we do know that Vedepo is a former standout high school wrestler who (for unknown reasons) turned down a spot on The Ultimate Fighter 7. The 25-year-old trains in Cedar Rapids with Team Hardrive MMA. The dude finishes fights, but may not be ready for the competitive leap into the UFC — even against the struggling Alessio Sakara.

JASON BRILZ (LHW)
Experience: 15-1-1 record (9 wins by submission), fighting all over the Midwest, including five appearances in the Iowa-based Victory Fighting Championships. Notable wins over Jason MacDonald and Alex Schoenauer; hasn’t lost a fight since September 2001. Last fight was a first-round submission win over Erik Jenks in May.
Will be facing: Brad Morris (9-3, 0-1 UFC)
Lowdown: Repping Omaha like Houston Alexander, Brilz was a state wrestling champ in high school who went on to be a four-year letterman at the University of Nebraska. The 33-year-old pays the bills as a firefighter and an assistant wrestling coach for U of N.

MIKE MASSENZIO (MW)
Experience: 10-2 record (last four wins via choke-submission), primarily in the New Jersey-based Reality Fighting and Ring of Combat promotions. Notable wins over Dan Miller and Dante Rivera. Last fight was a kneebar loss to Danillo Villefort at an IFL event in May.
Will be facing: Drew McFedries (7-3, 3-2 UFC)
Lowdown: Yes, he’s another high school/college wrestling champion; Massenzio’s past accomplishments include racking up a 75-1 record at Bergen Community College. He was also offered a spot on TUF 7, but decided to take some time off instead to heal up from injuries sustained during a grueling fight schedule in late 2007. The UFC just signed the top East Coast prospect to a five-fight contract.

DAN MILLER (MW)
Experience: 8-1 record (6 wins by 1st-round stoppage), in various New Jersey-based promotions and the IFL. His only loss was a split decision against Mike Massenzio in April 2006. Last fight was a submission win over Ryan McGivern in May that won him the IFL’s middleweight title. Miller didn’t have the opportunity to defend his belt before the IFl went tits-up.
Will be facing: Rob Kimmons (21-3, 1-0 UFC)
Lowdown: It must be a rude awakening to go from being the IFL’s champ to being stuck on the darkest of dark matches in the UFC — the lead-off spot on the undercard of a SpikeTV event. But if Miller can put on a good performance, he’ll re-emerge from the shadows. The 27-year-old AMA Fight Club/Renzo Gracie product was also formerly the Cage Fury Fighting middleweight champion. His guillotine-choke of Dave Phillips at the IFL 2007 semi-finals is one of the nastiest subs you’ll ever see.

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JHustle- September 15, 2008 at 6:49 pm
Brilz coaches at University of Nebraska at Omaha.... much different than coaching at the big one in Lincoln.
Bob- September 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm
Team Hardrive MMA? Is this a team of IT geeks or something?
mayhem420- September 15, 2008 at 2:44 pm
According to the UFC site only:

Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer
Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher
Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig
Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer

Are going to be on TV all of the others are under card fights and will only be shown if time allows... IE. some one gets KTFO or sub in the first round.
Holy Crap- September 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm
That was cranked so hard, they could rename that one the "reverse PEZ head choke"! Kimmons better watch his neck.
Old, Bald and Irish- September 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm
Is the entire fight card being televised on SPIKE TV?
Sam- September 15, 2008 at 2:04 pm
Holy shit that guillotine was nasty. Almost snapped the dudes neck in half.
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