For the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization’s historic UFC 100 event on Saturday, July 11th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, a stacked card featuring the best of the best in mixed martial arts is not only expected, but required. So to celebrate this once in a lifetime event, the UFC is pleased to announce three featured bouts that would be main events on their own anywhere in the world.
In the main event, the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship of the world is on the line when reigning titleholder Brock Lesnar faces interim champ Frank Mir in one of the most highly anticipated rematches in heavyweight history.
“Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir put on one of the most intense one round fights I’ve ever seen at UFC 81,” said UFC President Dana White, referring to Mir’s submission victory over Lesnar in February of 2008. “But when it was over, both guys saw things very differently. Lesnar blamed his loss on inexperience and being too aggressive, while Mir saw his win as a triumph of his technique, something he says will happen every time they fight. On July 11th, these guys have their chance to do it again, and while a lot has happened for these two since that first fight, I know the rematch is going to be just as intense as the first one, especially considering that the winner walks away as the UFC Heavyweight Champion.”
The co-featured bout of the evening will see UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St-Pierre risk his title against feared striker Thiago “Pitbull” Alves, a man many believe has the style and size to dethrone the seemingly unbeatable champion.
“Georges St-Pierre may be the most athletically-gifted welterweight champion in UFC history, but at UFC 100 he will face his toughest challenge yet,” said White. “Thiago Alves is a Muay Thai wrecking machine who, like St-Pierre, is huge for a welterweight. He trains with the world-famous American Top Team and is on a seven fight win streak, including victories over top contenders Karo Parisyan and Josh Koscheck as well as former world champion Matt Hughes. Alves has improved with every fight and I am expecting an explosive fight from the two top welterweights in the world.”
And rounding off this trio of superfights is a pivotal middleweight matchup pitting the coaches of the current season of The Ultimate FighterÂ®, Dan Henderson and Michael “The Count” Bisping, against each other in a bout that will push the winner even closer to a 185-pound title shot.
“Michael Bisping has always been a talented fighter, but he’s gotten even scarier once he dropped down to the middleweight division,” said White. “He’s getting better and better with each fight, but the true test for him will be Dan Henderson. Henderson’s one of the best fighters of this era, he’s dangerous wherever the fight goes, and he’s got more world-class experience than almost anyone out there. I’m really looking forward to this, and I think the winner will be the guy who fights the perfect fight on July 11th.”
A gifted athlete with the size, speed, and power to impose his will on any opponent, 6-3 Â½, 265 pound Brock Lesnar (3-1) made an immediate impact in the UFC when he debuted in February of 2008. A four-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Champion, and 2000 NCAA Division I National Champion in wrestling, Lesnar made a name for himself internationally after college as a professional wrestler, but he soon found his calling in mixed martial arts in 2006. After a 69 second win in his pro debut a year later, Lesnar entered the UFC in 2008 and was seconds away from victory against former heavyweight champ Frank Mir before a stoppage in the action for a point deduction allowed Mir to come back and submit the newcomer moments afterwards. But at UFC 87 in August of 2008, Lesnar showed why he was a force to be reckoned with by dominating Heath Herring, and by November 15, the ever improving Minnesotan shocked the world when he TKOd one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, Randy “The Natural” Couture. Now firmly entrenched at the top of the heavyweight division, Lesnar wants to even the score with Mir.
“I was disappointed the fight was postponed from May because I can’t wait to get my revenge against Frank,” said Lesnar. “But now I get to fight him on the biggest show the UFC has ever put on. On July 11, I’m going to finish this fight on the ground the way it should have been finished last time and walk out with my UFC heavyweight championship belt around my waist.”
Many believe that 29-year old Las Vegan Frank Mir (12-3) was destined for stardom the moment he stepped in the UFC Octagon, and he lived up to all expectations when he submitted Tim Sylvia in 50 seconds in 2004 to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, Mir’s career ground to a halt when a serious motorcycle accident later that year forced him to the sidelines for almost two years. His eagerness to return forced him into some spotty performances when he stepped back into the Octagon in 2006, but at UFC 74 in August of 2007, Mir was back in top notch form as he submitted Antoni Hardonk in just 77 seconds. He followed that pivotal win with a come-from-behind victory over Brock Lesnar at UFC 81 in February of 2008, but it wasn’t until UFC 92 on December 27, 2008 that Mir came all the way back, as he became the first man to stop the legendary Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira at UFC 92, en route to regaining the interim portion of the championship he never lost in the Octagon. On May 23rd, the 6-3, 240 pound Mir has the opportunity to once again reign as the undisputed title holder.
“He’s a very powerful guy,” said Mir. “I think I’m going to see a different fighter from our first fight. This fight has all the makings of an historic matchup.”
One of the most dynamic fighters in mixed martial arts history, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (18-2) can do it all in the Octagon, and his resume speaks for itself. A gifted striker and grappler, the 27-year old from Montreal is a two-time welterweight title holder who owns wins over the likes of Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, BJ Penn, Sean Sherk, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Frank Trigg. But St-Pierre is a tireless force in and out of the Octagon, and he’s training harder than ever for a fight against the greatest threat to his throne, Thiago Alves.
“A fight is not only a question of strength, it’s a mix of skill and a variety of techniques and strategy,” said St-Pierre. “For me, I’m very glad to be part of such a historic event like UFC 100. But I also think of it as another fight — I’ll be as well prepared as I can be. I think he’s gonna try to hurt me really bad standing up, or it’s possible that he might try to surprise me and take me down also. So I need to be prepared for the possibility of both.”
An aggressive Muay Thai practitioner with dynamite in his fists, feet, and knees, Thiago Alves (22-4) is coming off a 2008 campaign that had many outlets proclaiming him to be Fighter of the Year. And that was with good reason, as the 25-year old native of Fortaleza, Brazil scored spectacular knockouts of top contender Karo Parisyan and welterweight legend Matt Hughes before finishing off the year with a dominant three round win over Josh Koscheck. Now hitting his peak as a mixed martial artist, “The Pitbull” is not about to let this opportunity to fight for the world title slip through his hands.
“I was born ready for this fight,” said Alves. “I’m training hard for this one and this is the biggest fight of my career. I’m really excited to fight the baddest man on the earth and I can’t wait to knock him out. I’ve gotten so much better. I feel like the luckiest man in the world – fighting GSP, the toughest man on the planet, and fighting at UFC 100 is an honor.”
The finest mixed martial artist to ever hail from the United Kingdom, Manchester, England’s Michael “The Count” Bisping (18-1) has come a long way from his days as the winner of season three of The Ultimate Fighter in 2006. Since his introduction of the world scene, Bisping has scored victories over Eric Schafer, Elvis Sinosic, and Matt Hamill, but it wasn’t until he dropped to the middleweight division that his stock truly rose, as he is unbeaten at 185 pounds with wins over Chris Leben, Jason Day, and Charles McCarthy. But his truest test comes on July 11th when he faces the man he is currently coaching against on season nine of The Ultimate Fighter, Dan Henderson.
“This is the biggest fight of my career,” said Bisping. “I watched Dan Henderson and followed his career long before I even came to the UFC. It is an honor and great challenge to go up against an Olympian and two time world champion. I tried to get under his skin during the filming of TUF, but he is a gentleman and not easily riled up. But in this fight I don’t need to play psychological games. To win, I have to come in with the right game plan and take the fight to Henderson. That’s exactly what I am going to do on this huge stage of UFC 100.”
A two-time United States Olympian in Greco-Roman wrestling, Dan Henderson (24-7) turned his sights to MMA in 1997, and he has since put together a Hall of Fame worthy career that has seen him become the first and only fighter to hold PRIDE championships simultaneously in two divisions while beating such standouts as Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Murilo Bustamante, Renzo Gracie, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and ‘Babalu’ Sobral. Fresh off back to back wins over Rousimar Palhares and Rich Franklin, “Hendo” is eager to beat Bisping and get back to the top of the list for a shot at the title.
“Bisping is going to be a good fight for me, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Henderson. “He does a lot of things well, but I don’t think he has an edge over me in anything, and my experience is going to be too much for him on July 11th.”
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