Know your Pinnacle FC 14 fighter: Keith Richardson

Photo courtesy Sherdog/Dave Mandel

Photo courtesy Sherdog/Dave Mandel

We're two weeks away from seeing him step across the cage as the 12th mixed martial arts opponent for Dominic "The Honey Badger" Mazzotta, so it's probably about time that we become familiar with Keith "Rockstar" Richardson.

First up, he'll be the first challenger for Mazzotta's bantamweight title. Despite a 22-fight pro career, this will be his first title fight on record. He's competed under some pretty legit promotions, including XFC on AXS TV, and most recently Bellator MMA. But he really cut his teeth in North Carolina's Fight Lab promotion.

There he posted a 9-2 record, and he was one of the promotion's biggest stars. I actually was in attendance for his bout against Rusty Crowder at Fight Lab 42 in 2014, and it seemed as though two thirds of the fans were there specifically for him.

Now, he's a co-owner of Modern Warrior MMA in his hometown of Rock Hill, South Carolina. He also does most of his training camps with Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, meaning he has access to the mind of Cody Garbrandt, the only fighter to defeat Mazzotta as a pro.

The dude is also a black belt and former state champion wrestler in the Palmetto State (that would be South Carolina, for those scoring at home).

To make you like this guy even more, he's a Marine veteran and Iraq War veteran.

"I got into MMA after the Marine Corps," he told us. "It became my therapy after the war and allowed me to cope with my PTSD."

He also even likes hockey! That may be common in Pittsburgh, but it's not so common down south. Just look at the attendance at Florida Panthers games. And by "like" hockey, I mean he "plays" hockey. But I think he still has all of his teeth.

Ladies may also be happy to know that he's not too hard on the eyes (his words not mine), but he does have a girlfriend who can beat him up (also his words not mine).

But in all seriousness, he's a perfect test for Mazzotta. He's got nine wins via submission, and will be a legit test. But he's also not coming in looking to lose, and he's been known to play spoiler before, including a win over Frank Caraballo in Northeast Ohio last year.