Most of the attention heading into the UFC on FX 7 event has been focused on the evening’s main event, thanks in large part to Michael Bisping’s brash personality. However, fans should tune in early to catch a glimpse of what the future of the UFC may look like.

The UFC on FX 7 preliminary card features a number of talented fighters that could become stars inside the Octagon. Per the norm, the UFC has littered the preliminary card with hometown fighters. The main difference here is that many of these Brazilians are among the most promising prospects in their respective divisions.

Starting off the night will be Francisco Trinaldo taking on C.J. Keith. Trinaldo at one point was one of the top five prospects in all of MMA. He’s a former title holder in the Jungle Fight Championship, one of Brazil’s premier organizations. Trinaldo suffered a defeat at the hands of Gleison Tibau after returning to lightweight but will meet an opponent closer to his skill level when he faces Keith.

After Trinaldo and Keith throw down on the Facebook portion of the preliminary lineup, the Fuel TV prelims will begin with light heavyweight Wagner Prado facing Ildemar Alcantara. Prado used his Muay Thai skills to run his record to a perfect 8-0 while competing in his home country of Brazil. The Team Nogueira product was expected to make his UFC debut in August, but an accidental eye poke by his opponent, Phil Davis, caused the bout to come to an early end. Prado met Davis once more, but was clearly outclassed by the former NCAA Division I wrestling champion.

Ildemar isn’t the only Alcantara brother on the card, however. His sibling, Iuri, will take to the Octagon and look to rebound from his first loss. He’ll fight against Pedro Nobre. Competing mainly in his homeland of Brazil, Iuri joined the WEC’s ranks just in time for the promotion’s last event, where he finished top featherweight Ricardo Lamas via TKO. The talented Brazilian also owns a victory over tough veteran Michihiro Omigawa.

Edson Barboza provided fans with one of the top “Oh shit!” moments in MMA history by using a spinning wheel kick to drop Terry Etim at UFC 142. The man dubbed as “the next Anderson Silva” by many hit a rookie wall of sorts when he was dropped by Jamie Varner at UFC 146. Now, Barboza will look to validate the hype by putting on a clinic against the unknown Lucas Martins.

The only bout between two notable veterans on the preliminary card will feature Diego Nunes against Nik Lentz. Nunes is just 2-2 in his last four fights and doesn’t seem to have any clear direction in his career. He’s faced some tough competition, but can’t seem to get his career moving forward. Lentz has also struggled recently in the Octagon, but he was able to pick up a victory in his featherweight debut. Both Kenny Florian and Dennis Siver were able to pick up victories over Nunes in their featherweight debuts, so can Lentz make it three-for-three?

Two budding prospects will face each other when Ronny Markes takes on Andrew Craig. Markes joined the UFC as an injury replacement in 2011 and was able to take a unanimous decision victory in his debut. Markes came back after being rocked by Aaron Simpson in their contest in Feb. 2012 to push his UFC record to 2-0 and win his middleweight debut. Craig is also no stranger to making a comeback. After taking a fight on short notice against Kyle Noke, Craig lost the opening round, but stormed back to take a decision victory. Against Rafael Natal, Craig looked to be on the ropes and nearly out of it in the first five minutes, but he scored a head-kick KO in the second round to cap off a miraculous comeback victory.

The feature bout of the UFC on FX 7 prelims will be a featherweight contest between Godofredo Castro and Milton Vieira. Castro, better known as “Pepey,” made it to the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but came up short against Ronny “Jason” Bezerra. Vieira has been competing in MMA since 2001 and, at 34 years old, will have a significant experience advantage over Pepey. Vieira has competed against some good fighters, including Hayato “Mach” Sakurai and Jake Shields, but he has never been finished in his career. All of Pepey’s victories have come before the final bell, so it will be interesting to see if the young fighter can handle a durable guy like Vieira.

The UFC on FX 7 prelims feature a number of talented guys that makes that portion of the event well worth watching. Whereas the UFC on FX 7 main card will feature the present state of MMA in the UFC, the preliminary card will highlight what could be in store for the future.

Photo: Edson Barboza (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.