The Top 5 reasons Why You Should Care About Chris Mitchell vs. Jerrell Hodge

I think that bar none, my favorite thing about Pinnacle is the incredibly intriguing fights that matchmakers Dave Klick, Joe Demore, and Rich Miller put together.

By all accounts, the fight between rising stars Chris Mitchell (2-0) and Jerrell Hodge (2-1) is one that neither probably should have taken. Both guys could have probably avoided each other for awhile longer and nobody would bat an eye because it's pretty clear that they're both going to go far in this sport and taking a loss this early could seriously hurt their respective careers.

But neither one of them got that memo, and both are primed for a big test. 

These two will square off in the co-main event next weekend at Pinnacle FC 13 at Syria Shriners in Cheswick, PA.

Check out the top 5 reasons why you should care about this fight below.

5 - Both guys want a test

As previously mentioned, this is a fight that will be a barometer for the career of both guys, with one likely propelled to national consideration with the other left picking up the pieces and wondering what happened.

One of the things that has made me a fan of Mitchell is his willingness to fight the toughest competition out there, and by backing up his claim that he's the best around by actually facing tough guys and then asking for tougher ones when he dispatches of the first tough guy.

4 - Hodge KO'd Cody Garbrandt

In a moment that will probably live in his highlight reel forever, Jerrell Hodge knocked Cody Garbrandt out cold with a right hand back in 2012. That still stands as the most recent blemish on the record of "No Love," who has gone on to become one of the fastest-rising stars on the UFC roster.

While Hodge is mostly known for his wrestling, don't forget that he has serious one punch knockout power and can put just about anyone down at any time.

3 - Mitchell is a serious rising star

In talking with people following the most recent Pinnacle event in November, the fighter that many were most impressed with was one Philly Chris, who became the first fighter to knock out the extremely durable Charlie Gathers in just his second pro fight. 

That win placed Mitchell in the cross hairs of many national pundits, meaning that it immediately became nearly impossible to match him up. He's never afraid to talk a little trash, but so far he's back it up with his performances in the cage.

2 - Both guys need a win

It's pretty boring to say that both guys need a win, because in all reality both guys need a win in every single fight that happens. But if you look at it closely, you'll see that the stakes are a little higher here. 

Mitchell is unbeaten as a pro and has all the momentum in his career. After routinely facing the toughest possible competition as an amateur, he turned pro and has a nice shiny perfect record that you'd better believe he want to keep intact.

As for Hodge, he already has a loss on his record from his pro debut. He's bounced back with a pair of nice wins since then, but a loss here could put him right back at the .500 mark and looking at a long road to the big show if he ever plans to make it there.

1 - It's the co-main event

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this fight. It's a great style matchup with both fighters being well rounded. I'm betting that Hodge will attempt to test the ground skills of Mitchell, who has shown that he can finish fights in a violent fashion. 

Hodge has a great first step and can turn the corner on a single leg with the best of them. Mitchell has shown improved takedown defense in recent fights, but he will need to be at the top of his game to stay on his feet here.

Jerrell picked up a ho-hum dominant win in his last outing where he seemingly wanted to prove that he could take home the victory without throwing a punch. 

Both guys are incredibly athletic and I'm betting that this one will go to the fighter who can implement his game plan to a tee.