|By: Big Jeff Pearce|
This fight preview is going to be a little bit different. There are a number of fantastic fights on this fight card, but I am going to focus on the one that this fight card is really all about: Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith. More specifically, I am going to focus on our fellow Canadian, Mike Ricci. Briefly, I am going to highlight what seem to be some of the more exciting match ups.
Nelson and Mitrione, these two TUF season 10 veterans will be giving us bang fest 2012, no doubt about it. Pat Barry returning to the Octagon without his “I’m not shaving the hair on my head until I submit someone” hair cut vs. Shane Del Rosario. Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, two veterans that are really fighting to be in the mix at lightweight. Fightville’s Dustin Poirier will be taking on Jonathan Brookins, the TUF season 12 winner. This is a fantastic line-up. But, again, I will only be touching on Mike Ricci and Colton Smith, two very talented fighters that you may not have heard of considering the questionable ratings of this season of TUF.
Strong-Athlete strives to bring you a focus on Canadian content and this is one of those times. Mike Ricci, a Montreal native, is no stranger to the cage. He sports a record of 7-2, not including his TUF fights. He has fought in Bellator, Ringside MMA and XMMA. He has wins over notable names like Jordan Mein (Unanimous Decision) and Jesse Ronson (TKO – Punches). Mike also gained notoriety from training at Tristar gym and training along his best friend Rory MacDonald who foreshadowed Ricci’s ascension to the UFC just over a year and a half ago.
Ricci debuted this season of TUF by KO’ing Jason South and being picked to Team Carwin. Shortly thereafter, he sat down to dinner with fellow Canadian, Mike Hill (a Team Nelson member). Through the magic of editing, the television show demonstrated the two as close friends. However, Ricci highlights in an interview with the MMA Hour that he hardly even saw Mike Hill throughout the season because they were on separate teams. He underscored the fact that he grew much closer with his teammates.
Ricci won two decisions against Dom Waters and Mike Hill. During his interview with the MMA Hour, Ricci admits that his head was not in the game until that Dom Waters fight. His next step was to win over Mike Hill via decision. Again, through the magic of editing, Ricci was portrayed as betraying Hill. Fighters fight and that was why they were there. Again, Ricci had said that they had not really grown that close.
Ricci went on to battle Neil Magny and KO’d him with an absolutely vicious elbow against the cage in the first round. Ricci said during that episode that he knew that Neil would do that to him, so he had to do it. He showed a level of emotion that you rarely see on TUF. He candidly admitted that he had grown very close to Magny, they talked and got to know each other very well over their time in the house. He said that he would have rather won by decision than to have had to have done that to his friend. In all fairness, the elbow packed such a wallop, the sound through my speakers made me shudder. When Neil came around and woke up, he thought he was still in the fight; charging at the ref.
And with that, our fellow Canadian, made his way onto the finale of TUF to stare across the Octagon at Colton Smith, an active duty Army Ranger. Colton defeated Jesse Barrett, Eddy Ellis, Igor Araujo and Jon Manley – all by decision. Colton definitely utilizes his wrestling skills and striking to implement his game plan.
On Saturday December 15th, 2012, these two will battle and only one will emerge victorious. Both are talented fighters and it will be a war. I have a feeling this war will be a repeat of the war of 1812. You know, where us peace-loving and friendly Canadians threw a beat down on the Americans.