Brian Ebersole (50-15-1, 4-1 UFC) vs. Rick Story (15-7, 8-5 UFC), at UFC 167
Also on the prelims for UFC 167 we have 2 talented 170 pounders trying to reestablish themselves as forces in the welterweight division.
Brian Ebersole is an interesting fella in and out of the cage. He has been all over the damned place, in more ways than one. He has fought at 4 different weight classes while also contemplating fighting at a 5th weight class. He has trained with teams everywhere from Iowa to Northern California, to Australia, to Thailand and beyond. And he has fought countless other journeyman, veteran, fighters in a countless number of promotions everywhere from Canada to Mexico, to South Africa, to Japan to the United States. Throughout all of this Brian flew largely under the radar for most of his fight career and because of this it was somewhat of a surprise, and an upset, when Ebersole surfaced in the UFC in 2011 and beat the streaking Chris Lytle in a “Fight of the Night” performance. Ebersole’s base is wrestling and he still uses it as his primary weapon even though he has won fights by submission (20), knockout (14), and by decision (16) almost equally. Not being the greatest of athletes, Brian makes his skills effective mostly through technique, sheer determination, and being in great fighting shape. As his record shows, he is well rounded but most of his wins against better fighters have come by decision. When in top form, like he was against Dennis Hallman, Ebersole has solid takedowns, suffocating top control, with great submission defense, and ruthless ground n pound. And though he has lost 15 fights, he has not been submitted since 2005 and has NEVER been knocked out. With that in mind, and considering his opponent, the chances of this fight being a war of attrition are relatively high.
Rick Story came into the UFC with a loss, then went on a 6 fight win streak that included wins over guys that range from respectable all the way up to incredible in their fighting ability, and then he lost 4 of his next 6 up until now. He has become somewhat of an enigma in that when you examine the man’s skills you will find few reasons why he isn’t firmly planted in the top 10 of the 170 lb class. Story is a hard hitting, mean, aggressive, strong welterweight, who is big for the weight class (he wrestled in college at 184 lb) and has faced no less than respectable competition his entire career. He does his best work applying relentless pressure using his size and strength to bully guys from top position or up against the cage all while maintaining good submission defense. On the feet he has a good left cross and a devastating left body shot that will make your liver and kidneys hurt just from watching. Factor in that the only time Rick was finished was by a Damien Maia neck crank and again we see the possibility of this fight being a war of attrition.
Story brings a lot of horsepower to the cage and has looked good in 2013 winning 1 and losing a competitive split decision to the crafty Mike Pyle, he is a tough out for almost anyone. Ebersole on the other hand has yet to fight in 2013 and hasn’t had a win since midway through 2012. Ebersole may very well have enough tricks up his sleeve to overcome this but at this high level and with over a year’s worth of ring rust to shake off, a win is going to be just outside his grasp. Rick Story takes it by decision.