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EDMONTON, Alberta ¬– Josh Grispi's mixed martial arts career has played like something out of a movie. But the Boston-area featherweight was smart enough to hit the pause button before losing control of the plot.
Grispi (13-1) burst onto the WEC scene at the age of 20 two years ago and quickly made his mark at 145 pounds, finishing Mark Hominick, Micah Miller and former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver in a combined time of four minutes, 38 seconds.
But a nagging right ankle injury suffered in his second pro fight got progressively worse as time went on. So rather than continue to fight on a bad wheel and risk losing his spot just as his career was taking off, Grispi underwent surgery and spent a year on the sidelines.
"It was just the smart thing to do," said Grispi, who meets L.C. Davis in a WEC 49 main-card fight Sunday at Rexall Place. "It wasn't getting better on its own and after the Pulver fight I could barely walk. I knew it would be better to take care of it now than put it off."
While the move might have been the best for his long-term future, that doesn't mean Grispi enjoyed his year away from the cage. Grispi gained attention in the sport due to the nature of his victories, as he's scored 12 of his 13 wins by stoppage in under three minutes. Grispi's fight style is an extension of his personality, so sitting at home in a cast was not his idea of a good time.
"It was tough," said Grispi, now 22. "I've got wicked bad ADHD. I can't stand still. So being in a hard cast was the worst. "I couldn't get back to training fast enough."
With his year on the sidelines behind him, Grispi will look to get right back on to the fast track. In Davis (16-2), he meets another featherweight with a 3-0 WEC record and a guy not afraid to grind out a win if needed. The winner will be on the short list of those under consideration for a shot at champion Jose Aldo's title.
"Jose Aldo's a great fighter, he's earned everything he got," said Grispi. "But I'm not afraid of him. If the WEC wants me to fight him I'll take the match. But I've got a pretty good fighter I've gotta beat tomorrow night first."
Both Grispi (145 pounds) and Davis (146) made weight for Sunday's fights, as did everyone else on the card, though the opening match between Anthony Leoni and Renan Barao was agreed to as a catchweight 143 pounds when Leoni had trouble making the bantamweight limit of 135. Barao, incidentally, comes from Aldo's Nova Uniao camp in Brazil and has won 22 straight fights since losing his pro debut.
Complete weigh-ins results from the Rexall Place:
Anthony Leoni 142 vs. Renan Barao 141.5
Chris Cariaso 135 vs. Rafael Rebello 135
Diego Nunes 144 vs. Rafael Assuncao 144.5
Bendy Casimir 145.5 vs. Eric Koch 145.5
Frank Gomez 135 vs. Wagnney Fabiano 135.5
Will Kerr 155 vs. Karen Darabedyan 155.6
Will Campuzano 136 vs. Eddie Wineland 135.5
Danny Downes 156 vs. Chris Horodecki 154
LC Davis 146 vs. Josh Grispi 145
Yves Jabouin 145 vs. Mark Hominick 144.5
Kamal Shalarous 155 vs. Jamie Varner 156