Always smiling, few would ever suspect Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres (center) had so much riding on Saturday night's fight with Cole Escovedo. Photo by

Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres (5-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) is gearing up for the fight of his life as he prepares to do battle in the Octagon with the much more experienced Cole Escovedo (17-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC) on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Caceres and Escovedo will square off on the “UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos” preliminary card which will air live on Facebook and on The main event between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos will air LIVE on FOX and will mark the UFC’s first live bout on network television.

Caceres was one of the fan favorites from season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter and must have found a tender spot in the heart of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, and Dana White as well, since he is getting another shot at proving himself after back-to-back losses. Escovedo is in the same boat.

Caceres and Escovedo are fighting on the undercard of what has been called the most important event in MMA history. But despite all the hype that’s been associated with this historic sports event Caceres says his only focus is on his fifteen minutes inside the cage.

“The biggest thing I am doing to prepare for this fight is trying to come to terms with an acceptance, where the pressure of the fight doesn’t bother me. I’m totally unfocused on the hype and the fans. Don’t get me wrong, I know they are there, but I’m just focusing on the fight and keeping myself calm and collected,” said Caceres.

Caceres has had a bit of a difficult time in the Octagon. He’s been out-wrestled in his last two bouts. The first, a loss to Mackens Semezier in his official UFC debut in March, and the second against Jim Hettes at UFC on Versus 5 in August, both by rear naked choke.

So for this fight he’s been concentrating on honing his ground game by working with Mike ”The Wolverine” Rio (7-1), an accomplished wrestler and MMA fighter.

“We’ve been working on defense moves, wrestling moves. When you grapple its all about conditioning, you gotta be comfortable in those positions. You don’t want to be caught in something stupid. Our goal is to be aggressive and try to make sure Alex is comfortable on the ground,” said Rio.

And so far, from Caceres’ point of view, his new training partner is just what he needed to be able to the show the world the warrior he truly is.

“Mike’s been a real huge help on working a hole I needed to fill-in such as my wrestling and my ground game. It was definitely position keeping and just that wrestler’s confidence and endurance I needed. He’s been pushing me and that’s been great. It feels good to finally feel comfortable grappling,” said Caceres.

So what’s the winning strategy for the fight against Escovedo this weekend? Rio said, “Look for Alex to fight a smart fight…a strategic fight. And with me in his corner I’ll be in his head the entire time so he will stay more focused and stick to his game plan.”

There is a strong possibility that after Saturday night the loser of the bout between Caceres and Escovedo could be cut from the UFC. More often than not, it is three strikes and you are out inside the Octagon. But if Caceres and Rio have their way, it will be the other guy packing his bags.

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