by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
At Thursday’s UFC Fight Night from Hollywood, Florida one of the most intriguing match-ups of the evening is that between Miletich Fighting Systems standout Spencer Fisher and MMA veteran Hermes Franca of the fast-rising Armory Fight Team.

Part of what makes this bout so interesting is that it could very well determine the future of the lightweight division as both fighters have made their cases to challenge recently crowned 155lb Champion Sean Sherk in the not too distant future.

The other aspect of what makes this fight so special is simply the fact that both fighters are highly skilled, entertaining athletes who put it all out on the line each time they step into the cage. This is the kind of fight that not only has a lot on the line, but will also get fans on their feet and is almost guaranteed to deliver a great show.

“I’m feeling great. I trained hard for this opportunity and it’s going to be a war-type fight. I can’t wait,” said Hermes Franca to MMAWeekly less than 48 hours before stepping into the Octagon for his first fight of the year.

Spencer Fisher, while newer to the biggest stage of MMA, presents a very difficult challenge for Hermes, who is himself an athlete who relishes opportunities to push his limits and his game to the next level.

“He’s a great fighter,” said Franca of his Thursday night opponent. “He has good jiu-jitsu, [which] surprised me. I know he’s submitted a couple guys or more. He has a flexible guard, it’s not so dangerous but it’s hard to pass his guard, he has a good butterfly guard.”

“He punches so hard, has a good one-two [combination] jab and cross, and he’s so, so fast. It will be a tough fight; he will be one of my hardest opponents, definitely,” continued Hermes.

Even though Franca has great respect for everything that Fisher is able to do, Hermes is confident he has advantages in this fight and can meet Spencer fire-for-fire if he has to.

“That’s my game plan: try to take him down, ground and pound him and looking for submissions always,” expressed Franca. “I know he’ll try to block my takedowns with his sprawl, so I’ve been working on my boxing. He has fast hands, but I know I’ve been training boxing for a while, so it will be cool.”

Hermes further added, “It’s not going to be a big deal [if I have to trade punches with Spencer]. He has fast hands; I have fast hands too. He hits hard; I hit hard too.”

Odds are the winner of this match will be seen as the #1 contender for Sean Sherk’s title, but even with that distinction possibly on the horizon, Franca is clearly fixated on the task at hand.

“That’s great [if the winner becomes the top contender], but I don’t want to be thinking about the title right now,” admitted Hermes. “I think Spencer Fisher is a tough opponent, after this fight if I beat him I’ll see what’s coming next for me. I’m excited, I’m going to do my best, of course I want to fight for the title, but I’m just staying focused on my next fight against Spencer Fisher.”

So the stage is set for UFC Fight Night on Thursday. Two of the best lightweight fighters in the promotion are on a collision course for each other and as Franca himself says, the fans won’t be disappointed.

“I’m going to do my best in my fight at UFC Fight Night on Thursday here in Florida in my hometown,” exclaimed Hermes. “I want to thank my sponsors, everybody, and my fans – they support me all day every day so that’s really cool. I’m ready to go and put on a good show.”