Featured Post

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

Friday, February 13, 2009


Courtesy of the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2009


Live from the O2 Arena, Saturday February 21, 2009 – Tickets on Sale Now

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) proudly confirms the full card for UFC 95: SANCHEZ vs. STEVENSON, live from the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday, February 21, 2009.

UFC 95: SANCHEZ v STEVENSON will be broadcast in the US on Spike TV starting at 9pm ET (tape delay) and live across the UK and Ireland on Setanta Sports at 8pm UK.

As the biggest indoor sport in the British Isles returns to the biggest indoor arena in the UK, original Ultimate Fighter® Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez, 34-9-0, boils down from welterweight and enters the UFC’s 155lbs (11stone 1lbs) lightweight division. It is a move fans have anticipated for some time, but waiting for him in the Octagon™ is another champion of The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, 21-2-0.

Sanchez, 8-2 in his UFC career, will hit the ground running in his quest for a World Title shot in his new division by taking on a former UFC Lightweight title challenger.

He said: “I am not looking past Joe, but I have come down to the 155lbs division to win the title. I walk around at 170lbs but was fighting at 170lbs without cutting weight. I will be a real “Nightmare” at 155lbs. I look incredible at this weight and I will fight incredible at the O2. This is the most serious I have ever been for a fight, headlining a UFC is a dream come true, I am going send out a warning that the Nightmare had landed in the lightweight division.”

Stevenson returns to England 13 months after his challenge of champion BJ Penn, and he welcomes the chance to fight his way back to the title picture with a win over a fellow TUF champion.

“Sanchez is a great opponent for me,” Stevenson said. “Things didn’t go to plan the last time I was in England but I am happy to be back. Sanchez is a great fighter and this is going to be a great fight. I will be the first to stop him or submit him. That will be my statement that I want another title shot right there. This will be a war, we both got a lot to lose but even more to win, and I am going to make a statement with Diego Sanchez.”

UFC 95 features a stacked card with top contenders from four of the UFC’s five divisions.

In a fight which has captured the imagination British fight fans, England’s Dan “the Outlaw” Hardy and Chicago born striker Rory Markham scored two of 2008’s most impressive Octagon debuts. Hardy, 20-6-1 in his MMA career, scored an exciting three round decision win over teak-tough veteran Akihiro Gono at UFC 89, climbing off the canvas after two illegal knees to drop Gono in a stirring final round.

Likewise, Markham, 16-4 in MMA, made a sudden impact on the UFC welterweight division when he knocked out Brodie Farber out in what was one of the KOs of the year. Both men are anxious to continue to impress in their second bouts in the UFC.

Markham said: “Hardy is a good fighter, he is active and has good kicks. But he has no power in his punches. The crowd in England won’t bother me. This is a huge opportunity for me and Hardy has to go down.”

Hardy said: “He has an exciting style like me. He has that attitude where he will take two to land one, but to be honest he doesn’t has the kind of chin to take two of mine so this could be a short night for me. I hope he has a comfortable flight over to England, because the one on the way back sure won’t be.”

Another 50/50 clash at UFC 95 will see former Middleweight Title challenger Nate “The Great” Marquardt, 30-8-2, return to the O2 Arena after his thrilling fight with Thales Leites at UFC 85 last summer. The Denver, Colorado native takes on dangerous puncher Wilson Gouveia, 12-5-2 in a bout which will see the winner emerge as a top contender for Anderson Silva’s world title.

Also in the 185lbs middleweight division, three time world Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Demian Maia, 10-0 in MMA, takes on Chael Sonnen, 23-9-1, who is coming off a win over the last WEC Middleweight champion, Paulo Filho. The UFC 95 bout is something of a grudge match, with Maia having already choked out three of Sonnen’s Team Quest teammates in his impressive career.

There are plenty of fighters who say they will fight “anyone, anywhere, anytime” but welterweight Josh Koscheck, 14-3, is one who actually does it. The wrestling powerhouse from Fresno, California, has taken on all comers during his four years in the UFC, including leading contender Thiago Alves on three weeks’ notice last October. “Kos” bounced back from that bout six weeks later, scoring a KO of Yoshiyuki Yoshida that will run in highlight reels forever.

As a member of the Brazilian police’s Special Operations team, it’s amazing that Paulo Thiago has found time for combat sports, but he has been more than impressive in his time in MMA, compiling a 10-0 pro record. An intense and focused fighter with an iron jaw, Thiago is a six-time jiu-jitsu champion in Brasilia and another great addition to the UFC’s talent laden 170lbs division.

Only 23 years old, with four UFC bouts already under his belt, Liverpool’s Terry Etim has practically grown up in the Octagon, impressing fight fans with his spirited performances against Matt Grice, Gleison Tibau, and Rich Clementi. But at UFC 89 the rangy lightweight stunned onlookers with a mature, and commanding, three round win over Sam Stout. Now the 11-2 striker has set his sights on another defining victory over UFC newcomer Brian “The Bandit” Cobb.

Californian standout Cobb parlayed a successful college wrestling career into the world of mixed martial arts in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he started to make some major noise in the fight game with his victories over UFC vet Diego Saraiva and four-time Division III national wrestling champ Marcus Levesseur. Currently riding a nine fight winning streak, Cobb is peaking at precisely the right time for his UFC debut against Etim.

Few heavyweight contenders have every announced their arrival in the UFC as spectacularly – and forebodingly – as Brazilian Junior dos Santos did last October. Matched with highly touted contender Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90, the Salvador, Bahia puncher uncorked an axe-like right uppercut which felled Werdum inside 80 seconds.

In his second UFC bout dos Santos, 7-1, is matched with another exciting addition to the UFC’s heavyweight division in the gigantic 6ft 11inch tall Stefan Struve. Hailing from Beverwijk, in the Netherlands, the aptly named “Skyscraper” brings a formidable 20-2 record to the UFC and is looking to make an immediate name for himself in the world’s premier MMA organization in exactly the same way dos Santos did himself four months ago.

A black belt in Goju Ryu karate, South African born Londoner Neil Grove entered the professional mixed martial arts ranks in 2006, and he hasn’t looked back since, winning seven of eight bouts, all by KO or TKO. He faces his stiffest test to date when he steps into the UFC Octagon for the first time to take on fellow newcomer Mike Ciesnolevicz, 17-3, 1 NC. A former wrestler at national powerhouse Lock Haven University, Ciesnolevicz has paid his dues in the fight game, and having already competed against the likes of UFC vets Alex Schoenauer, Andre Gusmao, Reese Andy, and Carmelo Marrero, this battle-tested 29-year old is more than ready for his Octagon debut.

There’s never a good time to suffer an injury in mixed martial arts, but when Troy Mandaloniz was sidelined for all of 2008, it couldn’t have come at a worse time, as he was looking to keep the momentum from his spectacular stoppage of Richie Hightower in December of 2007 going. But after a torturous wait, Hawaii’s “Rude Boy” finally gets his chance to step back in the Octagon at UFC 95 and let his hands go against popular British brawler Paul Kelly.

No one who ever saw Paul Kelly’s UFC debut win over Paul Taylor at UFC 80 will ever forget it, as the aggressive Liverpool warrior thrilled fans with his “all guns blazing” approach to the fight game. At UFC 95, the 24-year old welterweight prospect will bring all his heavy artillery to the Octagon once again, and luckily for the O2 Arena crowd, he will have a willing adversary across from him in fellow banger Mandaloniz.

For more information about UFC, please visit ufc.com or uk.ufc.com or ufcespanol.com. All bouts 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 North American cable and satellite providers including iNDEMAND Networks, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN Entertainment, Bell ExpressVU, SaskTel Max™, Shaw Pay-Per-View, Viewers Choice, and WOWOW in Japan, and Premiere Combate and SporTV in Brazil, and via the Internet worldwide on Yahoo! Sports, and commercially through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. and Canadastar in Canada. In addition to its North American distribution, UFC programming is distributed in over 100 countries and territories throughout the world. For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit ufc.com or uk.ufc.com or 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.