Almost four years ago, Joe Pyfer's mixed martial arts career almost ended before it really got started. After a takedown from then opponent Dustin Stoltzfus, Pyfer landed awkwardly on his right arm, and it snapped. Pyfer sat on the campus in disbelief and the commentary team shouted out in horror. Referee Mark Smith stopped the fight, and Pyfer's dream of entering the UFC seemed all but likely.
Two years later, Pyfer received a second chance on Dana White's Contender Series, and he did not disapoint. Knocking out Ozzy Diaz in the second round, Pyfer finally earned his UFC contract with the ultimate priase from Dana White. Joe Pyfer is on the verge of a number next to his name this weekend in the biggest fight of his life against Jack Hermansson. This is a huge test for Pyfer, his first main event in the UFC will have a lot of eyes, and we will all see if this man ready for the big fights next.
Let's preview the main event and the rest of the card, as it appears on Verdict.
As stated before, this is the biggest fight of Joe Pyfer's life. The adversity this man has overcame to get to where he is today, lives well beyond the octagon. His story is remarkable, but Pyfer is set on rising up the ranks and becoming a UFC champion one day. In the fight, Pyfer prefers to stand and trade, and his right hand has produced a lot of knockouts. He did show a small sample size of his grappling when he submitted Abdul Razak Alhassan last October, but his wrestling will need to be in check against Jack Hermansson. Hermansson has traded wins and losses since 2019, and has struggled to insert himself into title contention, but he remains a solid gatekeeper in the division. He's fought in the UFC since 2016, and has fought numerous former champions, title challengers, and top contenders, making him the perfect test for an up and coming prospect like Pyfer.
This is a true striker verus grappler matchup and both men know exactly how to finish a fight. Joe Pyfer has a 92% finish rate compared to Hermansson's 74%, and so it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out with the contrasting styles of each fighter.
Andre Fili, who stepped in on short notice to replace Lerone Murphy this weekend against Dan Ige, is ready to earn a number next to his name. These are two fighters that have a lot of fights in the UFC, but just have not passed the test against a legitimate contender. Ige just had a three fight winning streak snapped against Bryce Mitchell in September, while Fili looked very sharp in his last fight, knocking out Lucas Almeida in the first round. This should be a very fun co-main event.
Robert Bryczek will make his anticpated UFC debut on the featured bout of this main card. The Polish born fighter is riding a five fight knockout streak that led him to get signed to the promotion. He hits very hard, and will be facing a Dana White's Contender Series alum, Ihor Potieria. Potieira has not found success during his brief stint in the UFC, going 1-3 with three knockout losses, but this fight is almost certain to not go the whole fifteen minutes, and with two power punchers, anything can happen.
The people's main event. This fight in the middleweight division featuring Brad Tavares and Gregory Rodrigues is going to be violent, and a treat for every fan tuning in. This fight was origionally scheduled for a pay per view slot on the UFC 283 card, but they will finally get the chance to meet this weekend. Tavares has been a mainstay in the UFC's Middleweight division for many years, and will look to use his experience against one of the brightest prospects in the division, the man they call Robocop. Make sure to tune into this one.
This is a true veteran verusus prospect matchup between Michael Johnson and Darrius Flowers. In his prime, Michael Johnson could beat any lightweight on the planet on any given day. He owns wins over Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, and Tony Ferguson. With Johnson, he's always lacked consistency in his career, he could never take that next step. Johnson is facing a UFC newcomer in Darrius Flowers, who's coming off of a loss to Jake Matthews in his UFC debut. This is a great opportunity for Johnson to let everyone know he still belongs, but on the other hand, Darrius Flowers could burst onto the UFC scene with a win over the promotion's most experienced fighters.
Opening up the main card is another striker verus grappler matchup. Vieira is the jiu-jitsu ace, and a multiple time jiu-jitsu world champion. He boasts a 100% finish rate, including eight submission wins to his name. Once the fight gets to the ground with Rodolfo, it's over. On the other hand, Petrosyan is a very talented striker. His kicks are very strong, and will look to keep this fight on the feet. Whoever wins this fight will dictate the way this matchup plays out.