With the stacked UFC 146 heavyweight card on the horizon for this Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas being possibly the best card in recent memory, MMA Gospel once again looks to the preliminary card in search of the most promising prospects. Typically it isn’t a difficult task to find a fighter on the undercard that offers something special and is lesser known among MMA fans, however, when an undercard offers the high caliber talents usually reserved for Pay-Per-Views, including a bout destined to be a war between “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-10) and “Bang” Duane Ludwig (29-12), it was no easy feat. While the world is focused on the main event between “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (14-1) and Frank Mir (16-5) for the UFC Heavyweight Title, many may miss out on the undefeated British submission artist “Sassangle” Paul Sass (12-0). The Liverpool, England native does offer something special, and it’s more than just an undefeated record.
Sass, who trains with Team Kaobon, has gone 12-0 in his professional career, winning 11 of his 12 fights by submission and picking up the other win on the judges’ scorecards. With 100 percent of his finishes coming by either Triangle Choke or Heel Hook, it is safe to say he has an incredible ground game. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt has won both the Ground Control Grappling Tournament and Ren Bu Kai Grappling Tournament and he showed off his ground skills in his UFC debut by sinking in a Triangle Choke on Canadian “Boots” Mark Holst (10-3) in the very first round, earning him “Submission of the Night” honors at UFC 120. In Sass’ second fight in the Octagon he managed again to lock up a submission in the very first round, this time catching The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 alum and Blackzilian Academy fighter, “The Menace” Michael Johnson (11-6) in a Heel Hook. Many undefeated submission artists hit the big leagues and find that they can’t work their magic against the wrestling of a full-time professional fighter on the UFC level, but so far, Sass has proven that he can, all while flying quietly under the radar.
Opposite of Paul Sass this weekend is “Christmas” Jacob Volkmann (14-2), who may be just as dangerous as the Brit. Volkmann is on a five-fight win streak including wins over Team Alpha Male’s “Last Call” Danny Castillo (13-4) and The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 alum Efrain Escudero (18-5) . With Volkmann also having a great ground game and backgrounds in wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu it will be no surprise if this fight turns out to be a three-round grappling match. However, if Volkmann does go to the ground early in the fight, look for Sass to capitalize on any mistakes or gifts “Christmas” gives him and finish yet another UFC fight in the very first round. A win over Volkmann would ensure that Sass sees his next UFC fight on a main card, potentially against a big name opponent as the dark horse surges to the front of the pack. The Sass vs. Volkmann bout will be one of three fights that will be streamed through Facebook Saturday evening around 6:45pm EST before the two-hour preliminary card on FX kicks off at 8pm EST followed shortly after by the Pay-Per-View at 10pm EST.