by Damon Martin
At “Ultimate Fight Night” on August 6th, the winners from the first season of the “Ultimate Fighter” will be making their return to the octagon in front of a huge national audience on free TV, but along side the returning show participants will be a very good welterweight match-up between Drew Fickett and UFC first timer, Josh “The Dentist” Neer.
Drew Fickett was actually one of the fighters that Dana White had personally gone to see in preparation to pick the fighters for the first season of the “Ultimate Fighter,” but instead picked his opponent that night, Kenny Florian, who lost the fight but put up a valiant effort and the UFC president went with him instead. Fickett, who is one of the most active fighters in all of MMA, didn’t get discouraged by not getting picked for the show. He instead continued to train and ready himself for his chance at the big show. Fickett received his opportunity at UFC 51 during Super Bowl weekend and he took on welterweight top contender and Cesar Gracie prodigy, Nick Diaz.
Fickett is known for his formidable wrestling skills and overall solid game, but he was a victim of the spotlight in his first fight. A great number of fighters have struggled in their first shot inside the octagon, if for no other reason than the fact that most first timers have been fighting for a few years and have put so much pressure on themselves to perform that they fall flat. Fickett stepped in as an underdog and the UFC didn’t give him much of a break for his first fight taking on Diaz.
Fickett went for the early takedown but looked nervous sitting inside of the Jiu-Jitsu expert’s guard, almost getting caught by an armbar early in the first round. Diaz moved well in the clinch and as opposed to trying for another takedown, Fickett worked for a guillotine choke on two separate occasions. Unfortunately, Fickett lost the hold both times, the second of which left him holding Diaz in an open guard and eating punches from above. Diaz obviously saw that Fickett was rattled and moved in for the kill, getting the referee’s stoppage and the win late in the first round.
Fickett was very disappointed in his performance because he knew that he was better than what he had just shown. No one would question a loss to a top fighter such as Diaz, but Fickett really wanted to win the fight and knew that a second chance in the octagon wasn’t a guarantee. The UFC surely understood the pressure of stepping into the octagon for the first time and taking on a top opponent like Nick Diaz, so now Fickett will get another go around to prove himself as a top 170lb fighter, this time on the live Spike TV show that will be the first of its kind on national television.
Fickett’s opponent is another fighter that has been waiting for his chance at the UFC. Josh “The Dentist” Neer, who trains out of Iowa, is a very good up and comer in the welterweight division and with a record like his, it was only a matter of time before the UFC came calling. Neer is an extremely dangerous striker who has won his last 10 fights in a row, with only one fight going to a decision.
One the most interesting things about Neer is definitely his nickname, “The Dentist.” Neer commented that he garnered the nickname after knocking out an opponent’s teeth in a fight and the promoter jokingly gave him the name, and it’s still with him today. Josh Neer has only one loss to his credit which was still fairly early in his career and since then has become a veteran of the sport and is still growing and learning with every fight.
Both fighters will be trying their very best to prove themselves worthy of competing in the UFC and everybody that gets a chance inside the octagon knows that a great performance is a sure fire way to get asked back. Fickett is coming back with a new found fire to prove that he is better than his previous performance and is sure to focus on getting this fight to the ground. Although Fickett has well rounded striking ability, with his opponent being very heavy handed, it would serve the Arizona native best to get this fight on the ground. Fickett went against his gameplan when he took on Diaz, so he is sure to be ready to implement his will in his fight with Neer.
Josh Neer on the other hand will definitely be looking for the knockout. He is the type of fighter that given a chance, will deliver a highlight reel style KO and when on the biggest stage for MMA in America, that’s the time to shine and Neer is going to look for the big hit. Neer has good submissions in his arsenal as well, so if the fight does go to the ground he can defend and even go the for the win if he is on his back. The biggest problem that Neer may have in this fight is if Fickett gets him down and traps him against the fence, he could be in trouble. Both fighters have good experience and this fight could set in motion a great career in the UFC with a decisive win.
Neer and Fickett will face off at “Ultimate Fight Night” live on Spike TV on August 6th.