Two veterans in need of bounce-back efforts will square off in Atlantic City at UFC Fight Night 45. Rick Story will tangle with John Howard in a welterweight battle on July 16 that is bound to produce plenty of action. “The Horror” is fresh off a hard-fought split decision loss against TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 171. Meanwhile, Howard also experienced a setback in his last fight as his winning ways were halted by Ryan LaFlare at Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi.
Story is a veteran of 15 Octagon appearances having produced a record of 9-6. He looked as though he was going to be a legitimate title contender back in 2011 thanks to a six-fight win streak that included victories over current welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves. However, that solid momentum was derailed by an upset loss to Charlie Brenneman. Story has gone just 3-4 since that setback and has been unable to put together back-to-back wins.
He’s tremendously tough, having never been knocked out, and is noted for his high-pressure style. Story has seven finishes in his 16 career wins and has been in his share of spirited battles.
“Doomsday” is in his second stint with the promotion. After a decision win in a largely forgettable contest at Fight Night 26 against Uriah Hall, Howard made the move down from the middleweight ranks. He enjoyed success against Siyar Bahadurzada but had his momentum stalled in the decision loss against the undefeated LaFlare.
Howard has gone 8-2 in his last 10 fights and will look to get his career back on the right track against the durable Story. He’s also faced stiff competition during his time in the UFC in the likes of Matt Brown, Jake Ellenberger and Alves. Howard has a 22-9 record with 15 of his wins by way of knockout or submission.
This is a definite crossroads battle between two competitors hoping to remain in the mix in a stacked 170-pound division. The winner will get another opportunity to prove they belong in top-15 territory, while the loser will have a hard time staying relevant in the organization.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports