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Thank You, Axl Rotten (And R.I.P.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Courtesy of the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2008



Las Vegas, Nev. (USA) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC®) organization today announced the remaining fights on the main card for the upcoming UFC 82: PRIDE OF A CHAMPION which features the long-awaited super-fight to determine the undisputed king of the middleweight division. Anderson "The Spider" Silva, UFC Middleweight Champion, will take on PRIDE 183-lb. Champion Dan Henderson when the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) makes its third trip to the state of Ohio on Saturday, March 1, 2008, live from Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Also on the main card are exciting match-ups between Cheick Kongo vs. Heath Herring; Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara; Evan Tanner vs. Yushin Okami; Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson; Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien; Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fioravanti; Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett; Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden vs.; and John Halverson vs. Jorge Gurgel.

Tickets for UFC 82: PRIDE OF A CHAMPION are on sale now and are priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50 and are available at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.ufc.com and by phone at (614) 431-3600. Tickets may also be purchased at the FSN Ohio Blue Line locations at the Chiller Ice Rinks and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing. All tickets are subject to facility fee and service charges.

UFC 82: PRIDE OF A CHAMPION is available live on pay-per-view at 10pm EST/7pm PST on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Communications and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).

Cheick Kongo (21-3-1) 6’4”/240 lbs., fighting out of Paris, France, was a fairly unknown Frenchman until he made his UFC debut in July of 2006 against Gilbert Aldana. The Paris native had an impressive record and a stellar reputation as a fearsome kickboxer, but could he compete successfully in the UFC? He answered that question quickly and emphatically as he halted the rugged Aldana in a little over four minutes of the first round. Not everyone was sold though, so Kongo jumped back in the Octagon™ a month later to face Christian Wellisch. Kongo survived an early submission attempt to knock out his foe with a knee at 2:51 of the opening round, and a star was born in the heavyweight division. In this game, nothing can be taken for granted, and at UFC 64 Kongo was upset by Carmelo Marrero. At UFC 70 he came back with an impressive win over Brazil’s Assuerio Silva and then a dominating three round unanimous decision win over feared striker Mirko Cro Cop. As 2008 begins he finds himself up against Heath Herring, knowing that he may be just one win away from challenging for the title he has longed for since he began training. Herring (27-13-1) 6’4”/250 lbs., fighting out of Las Vegas, is really a true Texan from the top of his ten-gallon hat to the bottom of his cowboy boots. The Waco-born “Texas Crazy Horse” loves to make the Lone Star State proud with his aggressive style and world-class MMA game. Herring is the owner of standout wins over Mark Kerr, Igor Vovchanchyn, and Gary Goodridge, but he also knows that his ascension up the UFC ranks is riding on his fight against fellow contender Cheick Kongo. Despite having ten years under his belt as a professional fighter and a well-deserved status as one of the best heavyweights of this era, Herring, having seen it all in the fight game, still feels he’s got a lot of accomplish.

Chris “The Crippler” Leben (17-4-0) 5’11”/185 lbs., fighting out of Oahu, HA is a season one sparkplug from The Ultimate Fighter® series who used his aggressive style and brash personality to gain a legion of fans. While building an unbeaten 5-0 Octagon record that included wins over Patrick Cote, Edwin Dewees, Jorge Rivera, and Luigi Fioravanti, Chris Leben hit hard times over a 12 month period in 2006-2007 as he was beaten by current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Jason MacDonald, and Kalib Starnes, while only managing one knockout win over Jorge Santiago. “The Crippler” is not one to give up on his dream of a world championship though, and he got back to business last September with a spectacular knockout of Terry Martin, and now he will face another hard-hitting foe in Alessio Sakara. After the “Legionarius” (16-6-1) 6’0”/ 185 lbs. fighting out of Miami, Fla., built a reputation as a fighter to watch in the UFC with his fights against Ron Faircloth and Elvis Sinosic, Sakara hit a wall in his MMA career with losses to Dean Lister, Drew McFedries, and Houston Alexander. Sometimes a defeat can teach you more about character than a victory, and Sakara believed this to be true in his case. At UFC 70 in April, this former pro boxer showed his resilience in style as he stopped Victor Valimaki in the first round, and he began a new winning streak in January by stopping James Lee. Sakara returns to the Octagon to face veteran Leben.

Evan Tanner (34-6-0) 6’0”/185 lbs., fighting out of Las Vegas is a former UFC Middleweight Champion. Name a top fighter at 185-pounds, and Tanner has probably fought him. Rich Franklin, David Loiseau, Phil Baroni, David Terrell, and Robbie Lawler; a who’s who of middleweight mixed martial artists, all dot the resume of the Amarillo, Texas native. A veteran of 40 MMA bouts, the 37-year-old Tanner has seen it all in the fight game, and after an almost two-year hiatus from the sport, he’s ready to begin another chapter of his career with his bout against Yushin Okami. Kanagawa, Japan’s Okami (22-4-0) 6’2”/185 lbs., has torn through the middleweight ranks since arriving in the UFC in 2006, defeating Mike Swick, Alan Belcher, Kalib Starnes, and Rory Singer along the way. It was in a close decision loss to Rich Franklin last June that Okami truly showed that he belongs among the elite at 185 pounds as he pushed the former UFC champion to the limit and almost submitted him in the final round of a closely contested bout. Now, the powerful Okami, who got back in the win column last October against highly-regarded Canadian contender Jason MacDonald, will look to move closer to a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva by beating former 185-pound champ Tanner.

Jon Fitch (20-2-1) 6’0”/170 lbs., fighting out of San Jose, Calif., by his own account, was “a mediocre college wrestler.” This, despite being a four year letter winner at Purdue, the 2002 team captain and winner of the Most Dedicated Big Ten Conference Scholar-Athlete Award. For the Fort Wayne native though, this just wasn’t enough, and looking back now he chalks it up not to his talent, but to his attitude. It wasn’t until graduate school that everything clicked. After he packed his bags to move to California and pursue a career in mixed martial arts, the lessons he learned not only became applicable, they became essential, especially as he rose up the welterweight ranks. Now unbeaten in seven Octagon battles, Fitch has arrived on the world stage, but you won’t hear him referring to himself in the third person or calling out everyone at 170 pounds. He’s going to stay the same fighter and man he’s always been as he takes on newcomer Chris “The Professor” Wilson. A well rounded battler from Portland, Ore., “The Professor” (11-3-1) 6’1”/170 lbs., makes his UFC debut after four years of building a reputation as one of the most talented welterweights in the game today. Owner of victories over UFC veterans Brandon Melendez, Jay Hieron, and Derrick Noble, the 30-year old is eager to add Fitch to that list.

Andrei “Pit Bull” Arlovski 6’4”/240 lbs., (13-5-0) fighting out of Chicago, is a former UFC heavyweight champion. With a UFC resume boasting nine wins in 13 fights the feared “Pit Bull” is one of the most well-known fighters in the entire organization. Arlovksi has established himself as a dangerous striker and efficient grappler, but after a devastating two-time defeat to Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia, Arlovski went back to the drawing board. The 29-year old heavyweight begins his comeback journey after two straight wins over Marcio Cruz at UFC 66 and Fabrico Werdum at UFC 70. This third fight on his path back to victory will either make or break him when he meets the wild O’Brien. Jake “Irish” O’Brien 6’3”/230 lbs., (10-0-0) is an aggressive wrestler with a flawless record in the UFC. The heavy-handed ground and pound specialist took on Heath the “Texas Crazy Horse” Herring in his last fight over a year ago only to demolish him and put a unanimous decision win under his belt. After being sided to injuries, the undefeated O’Brien will dual UFC legend Arlovksi for another win or his first loss.

Luke “The Silent Assassin” Cummo 6’0”/170 lbs., (9-4-0) fighting out of Long Island, NY has knock-out power most fighters dream of having. Cummo is a serious striker with BJJ skills as well as talents in the martial art known as Jeet Kune Do founded by the legendary Bruce Lee. The New Yorker has a quirky reputation outside the Octagon, but it is mostly his exciting fights inside the eight-sided cage which keep his name in the mouths of UFC fans. This fight will undoubtedly go to blows when he takes on another striking specialist, Fioravanti. Luigi Fioravanti 5’8”/170 lbs., (12-3-0) fighting out of St. Petersburg, Fla. is a former United States Marine who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a military man trained in MMA, Fioravanti has good takedown defense and excellent striking ability. Having a rollercoaster career in the UFC hasn’t stopped Fioravanti from still fighting his heart out. It is this determination and intense training that could make his match-up against Cummo the fight of the night at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion.

Josh “Kos” Koscheck 5’10”/170 lbs., (11-2-0) fighting out of Fresno, Calif., can boast being part of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. With a wrestling background and noteworthy athleticism Koscheck is considered a young seasoned fighter with an exciting career. “ Kos ” only has two losses in the UFC including his last fight against interim UFC Welterweight World Champion Georges St-Pierre. The 30-year old Pennsylvania native takes this fight against the nine years younger, Hazelett to prove he has no plans on staying in the losers circle. Dustin Hazelett 6’1”/170 lbs., (12-3-0) fighting out of Cincinnati, fights in his home territory on March 1. This young fighter is a force in his division riding high on three consecutive wins two of which were submissions over Jonathan Goulet and Stevie Lynch. With the heart of a gladiator and the skills of a BJJ specialist Hazelett’s abilities will be put to the test when he dukes it out with the experienced Josh Koscheck.

Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez 5’11”/170 lbs., (19-2-0) fighting out of San Diego, Calif., is a well-known fighter in the welterweight division. With noteworthy wins including a knockout of Joe Riggs, and unanimous decision defeat over welterweight force Karo Parisyan, Sanchez still has much to prove after two consecutive losses. As an excellent grappler, this young fighter will take his skills and experience to the Octagon when he shows Bielkheden why he’s named the “Nightmare.” David Bielkheden 5’10”/170 lbs., (12-5-0) fighting out of Stockholm, Sweden is a member of the world-renowned Brazilian Top Team. Making his UFC debut in Columbus, Bielkheden is a seven year pro in mixed martial arts who has scored 12 wins in 17 fights. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, the 28-year old has five submission wins, including one over UFC veteran Chalres McCarthy in 2004. When these two warriors go to battle it will be a true test of skill, but only one can walk away a winner.

Jorge Gurgel 5’9”/155 lbs., (14-3-0) fighting out of Cincinnati, will attempt to redeem himself in Columbus after a loss to Alvin Robinson in his hometown. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt with an aggressive attitude, Gurgel is more than a submission specialist. As a pro kick boxer and a skilled muay thai artist and wrestler, Gurgel has demonstrated his well rounded abilities when he defeated Diego Saraiva in July 2007 after 15 minutes of left and right strikes. It will surely be a test of his determination when he takes on Halverson in a lightweight battle. John “The Hurricane” Halverson 5’9”/155 lbs. (16-5-0) fighting out of Des Moines, IA also comes off a loss to lightweight superstar Roger Huerta. The heavy-handed “Hurricane” who is best known for his boxing background had a chance meeting with the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” of the UFC, Tito Ortiz, and quickly switched over to MMA. The 35-year old Iowa native can take a hit as well as give one, and plans on landing the winning punch when he meets Gurgel on Saturday, March 1.

For more information about UFC 82 or any upcoming UFC event, visit www.ufc.com or uk.ufc.com. All bouts are live and subject to change.

About The Ultimate Fighting Championship

The Ultimate Fighting Championship® is the world’s leading professional mixed martial arts organization and offers the premier series of MMA sports events. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® produces over twelve live pay-per-view events annually that are distributed residentially through various cable and satellite providers including InDemand and DirecTV, and commercially through Joe Hand Promotions. In addition to its U.S. distribution, UFC programming is distributed in over 100 countries and territories throughout the world. For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit www.ufc.com or uk.ufc.com or www.ufcespanol.com.

Ultimate Fighting Championship®, Ultimate Fighting®, UFC®, The Ultimate Fighter®, Submission®, As Real As It Gets®, Zuffa™, The Octagon™ and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks, trademarks, trade dress or service marks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other marks referenced herein may be the property of Zuffa, LLC or other respective owners.