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Ex-Tide LB Eryk Anders has UFC debut Saturday night

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Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight champ makes the big time

Alabama Crimson Tide v Georgia Bulldogs Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

One of the more enjoyable stories we’ve had the privilege of covering the past few years has been Eryk Anders transformation from a pass-rushing, championship-saving folk hero at Alabama to a mixed martial artist.

You can’t fault his drive or the hard work he’s put in: Anders started at gym circuits, local fights, regional alliances, and then moved on to minor professional organizations, eventually winning the Legacy Fighting Alliance Middleweight crown last month in a 3rd-round knockout.

He’s paid his dues.

Now, Anders’ second career takes another giant leap forward in Nassau tomorrow night. Anders, 8-0 (six by 1st-Round knockout,) makes his debut appearance with UFC on the ”UFC on Fox 25” broadcast tomorrow night at 8 Eastern.

Anders was not originally scheduled for the event, but a last minute cancellation opened the door for him. Sometimes, all you need is a lucky break.

Said Anders of the matchup with soupcan Rafeal Natal (21-8-1):

"I like the matchup," Anders said during a "Half the Battle" podcast. "He backs himself up, puts himself against the cage - right where I want him anyway. I'll be able to land shots, hopefully a takedown, if I want it. His striking's not great. His jiu jitsu is phenomenal, but he's going to have to get it to the ground first. So I really like the matchup. It really favors me."

Anders’ interview with Half the Battle is below.

Best of luck to Eryk, and Roll Tide.