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Jared Papazian fighting for UFC job

Burbank-trained mixed-martial artist makes 125-pound debut against Tim Elliott Saturday in Las Vegas.

December 12, 2012|BY Grant Gordon

As it is with just about any fight inside the confines of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's octagon, Jared Papazian's flyweight bout against Tim Elliott features its share of story lines, subplots and stipulations.

There's also some smack talk and hype.

It's Papazian's 125-pound debut and Elliott's chance to rebound after a loss to a world-ranked contender. And a victory by Papazian, which would be his first in the UFC, would likely make him an immediate player in the 125-pound division.

But for Papazian, at the root of it all, it's pretty plain, simple and pivotal as it relates to his career.

"My whole job right now is to save my job," said Papazian, who trains primarily at Burbank Gracie Barra under former UFC fighter and Glendale resident Alberto Crane. "I don't care how I do it as long as it's exciting and I get the win.

"If I lose, I know I'm getting my walking papers."

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Papazian (14-8) will take on Elliott (8-3-1) to lead off Saturday's "The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale" card live from the The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The three-round flyweight bout will be the first of a scheduled 12-fight card and will stream live on Facebook with a start of 2:45 p.m. The main card, beginning at 6 p.m., will air live on FX and feature heavyweights Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione squaring off in the main event.

"I think it's gonna be a great fight," Papazian said. "I think that's why they put us together. They know that we're both gonna bring it."

Exciting or not, though, Papazian's well aware that he needs a win to stay in the UFC. Riding a two-fight losing streak that began with a hotly-contested decision loss to Mike Easton in his January UFC debut and followed by a submission loss to Dustin Pague in June that had some controversy do to the referee's reprimand of Papazian using his feet on the cage, Papazian faces a well-rounded opponent.

"He's very well-rounded," Papazian, 24, said. "He's wild, he's exciting."

Elliott owns three knockout victories and four submission wins and also comes in brimming with confidence.

"I saw some YouTube video or whatever that he did, saying all 125-pounders were too polite and he's gonna bring some noise to the division, some stupid [expletive] like that," Elliott said. "I feel like the UFC is kind of giving me a gift having me fight Papazian."

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