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Thursday, March 12, 2009


-- Ultimate Fighting Championship

For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2009


SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2009

Live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena – Tickets on Sale Now

UFC Light Heavyweight title bout replaces postponed title fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – In the UFC® light heavyweight division, the most talent-rich weight class in all of mixed martial arts, every bout is a Super Fight. This will never be more evident than on Saturday, May 23rd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, when champion “Sugar” Rashad Evans defends his crown for the first time against fellow unbeaten Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in the main event of UFC 98, which is presented by Tequila CAZADORES.

“With 32 wins and no losses between them, this may end up being one of the most memorable UFC title fights of all time,” said UFC President Dana White. “Neither guy has learned how to lose yet, and I’m interested to see if Rashad is the first fighter to figure out Machida’s style, as well as if Machida can withstand the striking power and wrestling of Rashad. The winner of this one is truly the best 205 pounder on the planet.”

The Evans vs. Machida bout replaces the originally scheduled Heavyweight Championship bout between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, which has been postponed due to injury. Current top contender Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair ligament damage in his jaw, will face the winner of Evans vs. Machida on a date to be determined.

In the UFC 98 co-feature, former UFC welterweight champions Matt Hughes and Matt “The Terror” Serra finally meet in one of the most highly-anticipated grudge matches in UFC history. This has been a feud years in the making, one that escalated during the two 170-pound standouts’ stint as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, but on May 23rd, all the talk is over and Hughes and Serra will get their chance to settle their score in the Octagon.

Tickets for UFC 98, priced at $800, $600, $400, $250, $125 and $75, not including applicable service charges, are on sale now at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to ten (10) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.ufc.com, www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

UFC 98 will be available live on pay-per-view on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, BellTV, Shaw Communications and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).

One of the rare unbeaten fighters at the elite level of the game, “Sugar” Rashad Evans (18-0-1) has achieved this remarkable feat with a mix of precision striking, world-class wrestling, and an unyielding will to win. A native of Niagara Falls, New York, the 29-year old Evans is just approaching his prime, a scary thought considering that he has already defeated the likes of Michael Bisping, Stephan Bonnar, and Jason Lambert, and then put together a year to remember in 2008 with knockout wins over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, the latter earning him the UFC light heavyweight title last December.

“This is my time to shine,” said Evans. “I worked hard to get this title and I’m not about to give it up now. I’ve got a lot of respect for Machida and I know we’re going to give the fans a great fight, but I also know that he’s going to bring out the best of me on May 23rd, and that’s going to be a sight to see.”

A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Shotokan Karate who owns one of the most unique styles in mixed martial arts today, Brazil’s Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (14-0) has barely been challenged thus far in his professional career, with wins over Rich Franklin, BJ Penn, Stephan Bonnar, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Sokoudjou, and Tito Ortiz filling his perfect record. But despite his technical brilliance, the 30-year old Machida also showed his fire in his last bout on January 31st, knocking out Thiago Silva in spectacular fashion at UFC 94. Now he sets his sights on Evans.

I'm excited to fight Rashad, he's a very tough opponent, and this is the biggest fight of my life," said Machida. "This has been a long road, and I'm going to give this fight myeverything. I'm honored to be part of UFC history - this is something I've dreamed about, and it's finally coming true, I’m fighting to become the UFC light heavyweight champion."

Also announced for UFC 98 are the following bouts: Yushin Okami vs Dan Miller, Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar, James Irvin vs. Drew McFedries, Houston Alexander vs. Andre Gusmao, Patrick Barry vs. Tim Hague, Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley, Dave Kaplan vs. George Roop, and Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Brandon Wolff.

For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com; UK.UFC.com; UFCESPANOL.com or GERMANY.UFC.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, BellTV, SaskTel Max™, Shaw Pay-Per-View, Viewers Choice, and WOWOW in Japan, 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.