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Jared Papazian looking for first UFC victory

Mixed martial arts: Burbank-trained 'Jackhammer' planning on exciting fight, big win against Dustin Pague on Friday's UFC card.

June 05, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

When sizing up Friday night's 135-pound Ultimate Fighting Championship matchup between Jared Papazian and Dustin Pague, quite a few similarities come to the forefront.

However, perhaps the one most appealing to fans is that when Pague and Papazian square off, their intentions are to put on an entertaining bantamweight fight more than anything else.

"I'm just gonna come out guns blazing," said Papazian (14-7), who trains out of Burbank Gracie Barra. "[I] always keep coming, always keep fighting."

Pague, who sports a 10-5 record, shares much the same outlook as Papazian that it's just as important to put on a good fight as it is to get a victory.

"We're not just fighters, we're entertainers, too," said Pague, who, like Papazian, is 24 and began his mixed-martial-arts career in 2008. "Nobody wants to see a boring fight.

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"Hopefully me and Jared put on a fight of the night and we'll go out there and throw some bombs and have a fight people remember."

The two are set to tangle in the fifth bout of the night, live on Fuel TV as part of the preliminary card for the UFC on FX 3, which emanates from the Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Both will be fighting in their second UFC bouts and both are coming off losses in their debuts.

Pague, a former "The Ultimate Fighter" cast member, dropped his debut on Dec. 3, 2011 when he lost to John Albert via a first-round technical knockout. Papazian lost to the highly regarded Mike Easton in a majority decision on Jan. 20 in a bout that many were clamoring for as fight of the night and later drew bonus checks for both fighters from UFC President Dana White. Pague had a five-fight winning streak snapped by his loss, while Papazian had claimed victory in his three previous bouts and eight of his last nine.

"It was awesome. I came in with no pressure, whatsoever. I just came in with guns blazing," Papazian said of the Easton fight. "It was very close; I thought I won the fight."

But the decision didn't go Papazian's way and, in the world of the UFC, two straight losses, particularly to start your career in the octagon, usually signal one's release from the company. Thus, the fight may very well have the added stipulation that both combatants are fighting for their jobs.

"I think it kinda comes down to that," Pague said. "I'm not really focusing on that, because I think I fight better when I'm not thinking about just winning.

"Bottom line, that could be the case, the UFC wants wins."

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