UFC 158: March 16, 2013 Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada UFC Lightweight Contender Mike Ricci (-285) Profile: Mike Ricci (7-3) has been hyped as “the next big thing” for years. In his lone appearance for Bellator, he was touted as “the lightweight GSP” in a nod to his training partners at the famous Tristar Gym in Montreal. However, in the four-year span of Ricci’s career, he has found his most success at welterweight, including a win over Strikeforce’s Jordan Mein in 2009. Since then, Ricci has technically gotten better, even though his record does not necessarily reflect that improvement. He is 2-3 out of his past five fights, beginning with a brutal knockout loss to Pat Curran in 2010. Knowing he needed to up his profile, Ricci joined the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 16 in the welterweight division, a weight class where he would be smaller than most of his opponents. Even as the smaller man, Ricci was able to make it to the finals and chalk up the Knockout of the Season. But in the end, he would fall to the smothering style of Colton Smith in the TUF Finale. Ricci is well-rounded and back in his proper division at 155, so with the Tristar camp behind him, look for the 26-year-old to continue improving. UFC Lightweight Contender Colin Fletcher (+205) Profile: Don’t let the 30-year-old Brit known as “Freakshow” for his creepy entrances dressed as a horrifying clown bring down your defenses. Colin Fletcher (8-2) is more than just his bombacious personality and love of the macabre, as he is a fairly well-developed martial artist and at 6-foot-2, he is a giant in the lightweight division. Fletcher spent the majority of his career at welterweight, but not having a problem with the cut down to 155, he has found a new home where he is 4-1 with his only loss at lightweight coming in the finale of TUF: The Smashes. He has length, size and despite his zany personality, a strong fight IQ. In somewhat of a cliche, Fletcher has trouble fighting off his back against high-level wrestlers, but he also has a myriad of submission techniques to keep his opponents honest. Opening UFC 158 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Ricci a solid -285 favorite (bet $285 to win $100) while Fletcher opened as a +205 underdog (bet $100 to win $205) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. This is a huge bout for both prospects, with the loser possibly getting cut by the UFC following two consecutive losses. The lightweight division is stacked with talent, and each of these fighters has the potential to make an impact. There may be more pressure on Ricci to perform back in his hometown of Montreal, where he is 6-1 so far in his young career, with the lone loss coming against Daron Cruickshank via unanimous decision. Fighting back at 155 would figure to help him against most opponents, but Fletcher is a large lightweight who will have two-inch reach and height advantages. They are both used to battling bigger men at welterweight, so it will be interesting to see who comes out more aggressive at the start. It could very well be Fletcher, who is a true submission specialist with six first-round stoppages among his eight career wins. Ricci may have to weather an early storm and will likely need to fight much smarter than he did against Smith in the TUF 16 Finale in order to earn his first UFC victory.