The first pro fight of the night on Friday at Pinnacle FC 14 will feature two rising lightweights, as Devonte Smith (3-0) is set to square off against Xavier Nash (2-1).
This is another fight where both guys have their eyes set on making it to the big show, and this will be a big test for each early in their careers.
Let's break down the top 5 reasons why you should care about this fight.
5 - The coaches
There's a reason why both of these fighters are recognized as two of the best up and coming MMA fighters in the area, and it starts with the men in their respective corners.
Smith has been a different fighter since switching his training camp to Evolve MMA under the tutelage of John Cook and Co.
Nash has spent his entire career training at Modern Vision MMA in Ontario and is a member of Chris Bonfoco's Team Ascension.
4 - These guys have been around
Smith made his amateur debut in 2011 and posted a 7-2-1 record before jumping to the pro ranks just under a year ago. All three of his wins have been highlight reel knockouts, including winning the 2015 BluegrassMMA Pro Knockout of the Year in his pro debut. He's also still just 23 years old.
Nash was 7-2 as an amateur and now has three pro bouts. He made his debut in 2010, and is still just 25 years old.
3 - Nash has a legit martial arts background
Nash has been a lifelong martial artist. He started training around age 15, and has excelled in both striking and grappling. He posted a 9-3 record as an amateur K-1 fighter, and he's also a BJJ purple belt.
2 - Smith hurts people
The gif has been making the rounds, but Smith's last win over Fred Stonehouse in June was vicious. And that's pretty much par for the course for "Johnny Kage." He reminds me of a young Brian Rogers on a local level - a guy with massive power, who knows how and when to use it.
1 - The breakdown
One of my favorite things about Smith's style is that his power comes from his speed and technique. Sure, most fans see the massive power, but he sets it up by throwing heavy, fast punches from his chin, and putting his opponents to sleep.
The thing that most people don't give him enough credit for his his ground game. He's continued to show impressive hips, as well as great submission defense against multiple opponents. His last fight he was able to get out of a deep triangle before finishing the fight with some nasty ground and pound.
Like just about every fighter from Team Ascension, Nash is extremely well-rounded. He's a Southpaw and isn't afraid to throw on his feet before looking for a takedown to use his jiu-jitsu.
In his fight against John Gunther, he showed a good top game and won the first round, but then got smothered in rounds two and three before losing a decision. That also happened in his pro debut, although he was able to pick up a split decision in that fight. He'll need to stay off of his back against Smith, who throws heavy shots from the top.