UFC Phoenix: Jimmie Rivera vs. Bryan Caraway Set For Co-Main Event

UFC Phoenix gets it co-main event as Jimmie Rivera and Bryan Caraway will finally meet at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, on January 15 2017.

As first reported by Gabe Killian of MMA Oddsbreaker, hot prospect Jimmie Rivera (20-1) and bantamweight veteran Bryan Caraway (21-7) will face off in the co-main event of UFC Phoenix. The matchup has been in the works for a while now, with both Rivera and Caraway trading plenty of banter surrounding when the fight will take place, and now we finally have a confirmed date.

Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera is riding an impressive 19-fight winning streak, including going 4-0 inside the Octagon. Rivera owns a first-round knockout of Marcus Brimage and decision victories over Pedro Munhoz, Iuri Alcantara, and most recently Urijah Faber at UFC 203 to launch him into contendership in the bantamweight division.

Rivera’s only loss came over eight years ago in his second professional fight, a split decision defeat. Rivera has gone on to win 19 in a row since then. However, Rivera is not known for his finishing ability, finishing only six (four knockouts, two submissions) of his 20 professional victories.

This is Rivera’s chance to solidify himself into title talks, as some saw his victory over Faber as more of Faber losing his touch. A victory over Bryan Caraway could possibly place him into the top three and one victory away from getting a shot at bantamweight gold. The future is bright for Rivera, but only a victory over Caraway can set that future in motion.

Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway is currently riding a two-fight win streak with a set of decision wins over Eddie Wineland and Aljamain Sterling. After coming off his split decision win over Aljamain Sterling six months ago, Caraway hopes to climb further up the bantamweight ladder by handing Rivera his first loss in over eight years.

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Caraway has some of the most underrated grappling in the UFC today, finishing 17 of his 21 victories via submission. Caraway has been pushing for a high-profile fight for quite some time. Rivera was not Caraway’s first choice, but after failing to book a fight with John Lineker and Cody Garbrandt, this is what he was left with.

However, a victory over the rising Rivera will leave no doubt that he deserves a title eliminator bout, or even a title shot. Caraway is finally so close to his long-pursued title shot, and he will do everything in his power to stop Rivera from taking that from him.

According to Cage Pages, Bryan Caraway is the fourth-ranked bantamweight in MMA while Rivera comes in at sixth.

UFC Phoenix is set to take place on January 15 in the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The current card reads as follows:

  • Yair Rodriguez vs. BJ Penn
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. Bryan Caraway
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders
  • Erik Koch vs. Tony Martin
  • Devin Powell vs. Jordan Rinaldi
  • Cyril Asker vs. Dmitri Smoliakov
  • Joachim Christensen vs. Bojan Mihajlović
  • Viktor Pešta vs. Damian Grabowski
  • Walt Harris vs. Chase Sherman

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