If UFC veteran Mike Pyle is serious about making one more run up the 170-pound ladder, it is pretty much a must-win for the 38-year old this weekend at UFC 170.
“Quicksand” will be looking to bounce back against T.J. Waldburger in Las Vegas. Pyle was blitzed in just 29 seconds by Matt Brown in his last fight at Fight Night 26, which snapped a four-fight win streak. Waldburger was also on the end of a devastating first-round stoppage in his last effort against Adlan Amagov at UFC 166.
The no. 15 ranked Pyle has compiled an 8-4 UFC record, but has failed when stepping up against elite competition. Besides the deflating loss to “The Immortal”, he was also a TKO victim against Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger. His submission game has been key during a lengthy career that has produced 25 victories against nine losses.
While he does have five knockouts to his credit, including a Knockout of the Performance against Josh Neer, Pyle is noted more for his ground skills with a whopping 16 finishes by way of submission. He will be hoping to add Waldburger to his list of victims in the quest to work his way back up the ranks for perhaps one more high-profile matchup. The biggest victory he’s recorded inside the Octagon was a split decision verdict over the rugged Rick Story at UFC 160.
Waldburger also is a noted submission specialist, with 13 of his 16 career victories having come via that route. He’s produced a 4-3 record inside the Octagon, including Submission of the Night efforts in wins against Nick Catone and Mike Stumpf. One concern for Waldburger is that he has been knocked out six times in his eight career defeats. There is no doubt Pyle will look to test that chin with his more diversified stand-up skills.
This matchup is a definite crossroads battle for both. Pyle has designs on delivering an impressive bounce-back performance against an opponent who definitely can be finished with punches. Waldburger is hoping to show he still has the skills to deliver against a proven veteran. The winner will live to fight another day, while the loser will likely see their UFC career placed in serious jeopardy.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports