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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

UFC Announces The Debut Of Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua

Courtesy of the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – 07/25/2007 – Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell is wasting no time returning to the Octagon™ to fight his way back to a title shot, and he has made his mission clear: he wants his title belt back. But standing in his way, with the power to stop the former UFC® 205-pound champion, is “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine, who awaits him for a light heavyweight main event showdown at UFC 76. As a special feature, former PRIDE FC phenomenon Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will enter the Octagon for the first time to take on Forrest Griffin in one of the two light heavyweight “knockout” fights of the night. The Ultimate Fighting Championship® organization presents UFC 76: KNOCKOUT, featuring Liddell vs. Jardine and Rua vs. Griffin, live from Honda Center in Anaheim Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007.

“After Jardine knocked out Forrest Griffin, Chuck and Keith were on course to fight each other. Keith lost his last fight and so did Chuck, so now they face each other not for the title, but to get back in the race,” said Dana White, UFC President. “Shogun is coming into the UFC because he wants the same thing, to get in the race and ultimately prove he is the best light heavyweight in the world – so UFC 76 is going to have a huge impact on the 205-pound division and who we could eventually see fight Dan Henderson or Rampage for the title.

Tickets for UFC 76: KNOCKOUT will go on sale Saturday, August 4 at 10am PT and will be priced starting at $50. Tickets will be sold at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com, hondacenter.com or www.ufc.com, or by phone at 213.480.3232.

UFC 76: KNOCKOUT is available live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Communications and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $39.95 ($39.99 CAD) in Standard Definition, and $49.95 ($49.99 CAD) in High Definition.

UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Tuesday, July 31 at 10am PT via www.ufc.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers starting Thursday, August 2 at 10 a.m. PST. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through www.ufc.com.

Liddell (20-4), considered by many to be the greatest light heavyweight fighter of all time, reigned as the 205-pound UFC champion for over three years. He knocked out seven opponents in seven consecutive fights, including Randy Couture (twice), Vernon White, Jeremy Horn, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Tito Ortiz (twice), before he was defeated by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 71 in May. Liddell now makes his return to the Octagon with the mission to once again reign as UFC light heavyweight champion. And on September 22nd, Liddell feels that he will once again show the world why he has earned international recognition as one of the best mixed martial artists ever.

“This is going to be a good standup fight, and it will be a very exciting fight for the fans,” said Liddell. “But I will beat him. I’m going to knock him out – I’ll go in there and pound on him until he goes down – I want to knock him out as fast as I can, win the fight, and then go get my belt back.”

Jardine (12-4-1) has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most feared 205-pounders on the planet. Despite his upset loss to Houston Alexander at UFC 71, “The Dean of Mean” has the power and explosiveness to derail any fighter’s game plan at any moment during the fight. Jardine displayed that skill when he stopped Forrest Griffin in a single round at UFC 66 last December. Like Liddell, he combines power and strength with exceptional wrestling and kickboxing, which makes him 100 percent capable of scoring a fast knockout. Jardine knows Liddell is his greatest challenge to date, but he also knows that the former champion considers him a danger.

“For me, I think this is a great fight and people shouldn’t underestimate me -- I know Chuck Liddell won’t underestimate me,” said Jardine. “I think he knows this will be similar to my fight with Forrest, a good, exciting, stand up fight … that ends with a knockout. It will be a real honor to fight Chuck, he’s the greatest light heavyweight champion ever, and I’m excited to fight him at UFC 76.”

In a special feature, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, fighting out of Brazil, will take on Forrest Griffin in his Octagon debut at UFC 76. The PRIDE 2005 Middleweight (205 pound) Grand Prix Champion is known for his aggressive style, and despite his willingness to stand and trade with anyone, he also holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He holds victories over current UFC Champion Quinton Jackson, who he defeated by first round KO, as well as Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, and Kazuhiro Nakamura. Currently riding a four-fight win streak in PRIDE, Shogun enters the UFC with an eagerness to introduce himself as a new contender in the organization’s ultra-competitive 205-pound division.

Griffin (14-4) has faced serious opposition in the Octagon, and is respected for having never backed down from a challenge. He is a well rounded fighter whose aggressive style and warrior’s heart propelled him to become the Light Heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter® Season 1. He has fought Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Elvis Sinosic, Keith Jardine, and most recently, Hector Ramirez at UFC 72. Griffin battled Ramirez for three rounds and won by unanimous decision, not only scoring a victory, but reclaiming his status as a rising 205-pound contender. He would like nothing more than to stop “Shogun” in his transition to the Octagon and continue his ascent up the light heavyweight ranks.

Starting today, UFC.com will present two of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s previous fights in the PRIDE organization through UFC® On Demand™, a service that makes UFC archives, previously unaired fights as well as exclusive UFC programming and the classic “Legendary Fights™” series available to fight fans.

Shogun vs. Overeem from PRIDE 33 and Shogun vs. Arona from PRIDE Final Conflict 2005 can be accessed through http://video.ufc.com/. Pricing for individual videos is $1.99 and monthly subscriptions are available for $9.99.

For more information about UFC 76 or any upcoming UFC event, visit www.ufc.com or uk.ufc.com. All bouts are live and subject to change.