This is the inaugural article for a new feature called “the undercard”, where we’ll take the best undercard fight and spotlight it. Tomorrow is the UFC on versus 2 and the undercard is pretty solid but one that stood out was the Damarques Johnson vs. Matthew Riddle fight.
The Ultimate Fighter alums will face off in an evenly matched fight in the welterweight division. Both fighters are coming off wins earlier this year yet in very contrasting ways.
Riddle (4-1) fought at UFC 11 against Greg Soto and was clearly winning the fight but was dropped with an illegal up kick by Soto and the fight was stopped. Riddle got the win but not in the way most fighters would like too.
After competing in season seven of the Ultimate Fighter Riddle has an impressive record of 4-1, but with only five professional he is still evolving into a mixed martial artist. Holding a wrestling background and currently a purple belt in BJJ, Riddle has power but is still learning the stand up game on the job.
Johnson (14-7) was the runner-up of the Ultimate Fighter season 9 (USA vs. UK), losing to team UK fighter James Wilks by first round rear naked choke. He rebounded though and has won two straight since, including an impressive knockout of the night win over Brad Blackburn at UFC 112.
Johnson has a boxing background and also holds a blue belt in BJJ while training at elite performance in Utah. His skill set is pretty well rounded and of his 14 wins 5 are by knockouts and 7 by way of submission. He has been submitted 4 times though and if he has a weakness it would be his defense of both takedowns and submissions.
Riddle so far has shown a wrestling / grinding style to win his fights, while Johnson is more of the finisher. It will be very important for Johnson to keep this fight either standing or with him in top control. If Riddle gets a takedown, Johnson will have to look for a mistake to either get a submission or to try and get back up.
It should also be noted that Riddle recently had twins and being a new father and some weight issues might also play into this fight. That being said though Riddle made weight at 171 pounds but Johnson did not, weighing in at 172.5 pounds. Johnson will have two hours to lose 1.5 pounds needed to make the weight, go figure.
[Update] Johnson got down to 172 lbs. and decided that was enough, fight will happen at catchweight and he loses 20% of purse to Riddle.
Look for the next installment of “the undercard” next weeks as we breakdown a UFC 117 undercard fight.
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