by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
2005 was supposed to be a breakthrough year for Karo “The Heat” Parisyan. He had returned to the UFC and had put himself on a three fight winning streak which was to culminate in a Welterweight Championship match against Matt Hughes in November.
It seemed as if Parisyan was flying high, then injury and personal hardships turned what was a promising year into a setback. Now after 10 months away from the fight game Karo returns to face off against Nick Thompson at UFC 59 this weekend in California.
Prior to suffering his injury Parisyan had been one the welterweight division’s hottest commodities. He had been on a four-fight winning streak that had seen him defeat the likes of Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, and Matt Serra.
Prior to the winning streak, Parisyan had only three fights in his previous 13 bouts. Two of which were to Sean Sherk, the other to current number one ranked contender Georges St. Pierre.
Karo’s Judo background had served him well and his game had continued to grow each time he fought. It seemed every time out he showcased new skills, whether it was his willingness to trade with Diaz or his ground ‘n pound against Lytle.
To complement his fighting skills, Parisyan showcased a natural charisma that made him an easy sell to fans and sponsors. He was young, talented, and things looked like they were finally in place for him to take the next big step after he defeated Matt Serra at UFC 53.
What fallowed could only be described as a string of bad luck and upheaval. Parisyan left his longtime school and mentors Gene LeBell and Gokor Chivichyan. Illness struck his family and then just weeks out from his title shot he would suffer an injury in training.
Karo would have to sit back and watch Joe Riggs get the title shot that Parisyan had worked so hard to earn. To add salt to the wound Riggs would not make weight and the bout was turned into a non-title affair that saw Joe submitted by Hughes in just over three minutes.
Months have since passed and finally healthy and with some stable ground under his feet Parisyan prepares to make his return to action and take the all important first step towards regaining his contender status and getting his long awaited title shot.
At UFC 59 Parisyan will be taking Nick Thompson, a one time student of a man Karo beat at UFC 44 in Dave Strasser.
Both Karo and Thompson have shown they are willing to stand and bang. Parisyan has an advantage in his takedowns with his extensive Judo background, but both he and Nick are solid submission fighters, so this fight could very well come down to conditioning.
Karo has been able fight hard for three rounds as he’s shown going the distance in his last five fights, but the question remains to how well conditioned he’ll be after missing time to rehab from injury. Thompson on the other hand fought an astounding 15 times last year, but this is his first fight in 2006, so how will his body react to having over three months off?
If Parisyan can win this fight he will place himself one step closer to regaining his lost title shot. However with Georges St. Pierre locked into number one ranking and virtually guaranteed a fight with Matt Hughes in September, it could be a while before Karo sees his.
A loss would be only Parisyan’s second in the UFC compared to four wins over solid competition. While that is enough to keep him with the company, losing would place him back in an ever overflowing division that might not yield another title shot for well over a year.
Regardless of outcome it’s the fact that Karo Parisyan has battled through injury and change to get back onto the biggest stage in MMA. He’s faced his first setback in his career and now he’s ready to shine again and as Parisyan himself says, don’t blink, because he intends to bring The Heat.