UFC News: UFC 65, UFC 66, and TUF 4 Finale updates
By Scott Newman
The card for November 18th's UFC 65: Bad Intentions, taking place at Sacramento's ARCO Arena is already finalized. With just over four weeks to go before the event, it's nice to see that Zuffa have put together another solid card. Thus far UFC.com has only confirmed the two title bouts, along with the Vera/Mir and Irvin/Ramirez undercard fights, however Zuffa's representative Beth ('saucylv33') has posted a full card at MMA.tv. The card is as follows:
-Matt Hughes vs. Georges St-Pierre (UFC World Welterweight Title)
-Tim Sylvia vs. Jeff Monson (UFC World Heavyweight Title)
-Brandon Vera vs. Frank Mir
-Joe Stevenson vs. Dokonjonosuke Mishima
-Nick Diaz vs. Graison Tibau
-James Irvin vs. Hector Ramirez
-Alessio Sakara vs. Wilson Gouveia
-Brad Imes vs. Antoni Hardonk
-Jake O'Brien vs. Josh Shockman
-As the card for UFC 65 is finalized, already the card for the as-yet-untitled UFC 66, scheduled for December 30th is shaping up. UFC have confirmed that this is the show that will see the long awaited rematch between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz for the UFC World Light-Heavyweight Title, but in the past week two more fights were basically confirmed.
Former World Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski's team confirmed that the 'Pitbull' will return on this card, and the opponent they named is Gracie Barra's BJJ expert Marcio 'Pe De Pano' Cruz, who is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Jeff Monson at UFC 59. Both fighters add intrigue to the UFC's thin Heavyweight division, and the winner will almost definitely throw their name into the hat for a title shot in 2007.
Dean Lister's 'MySpace' page has a countdown to his scheduled fight at UFC 66, and it looks like his opponent will be none other than Nathan Marquardt. With the Middleweight division suddenly looking a whole lot different thanks to Anderson Silva's unseating of kingpin Rich Franklin, the winner of this fight could also be in line for a title shot in early 2007.
-After being forced out of his scheduled UFC debut on the 10/10 Fight Night card thanks to Visa problems, Portal do Vale Tudo confirmed that Brazilian Thales Leites, fighting out of the Nova Uniao camp, will be making his Octagon debut on the TUF IV Finale card, scheduled for November 11th. Leites' opponent will be Danish striker Martin 'Hitman' Kampmann, who is coming off a submission victory over Crafton Wallace on the 08/16 card. Currently at 9-0 and with some describing him as a larger Vitor 'Shaolin' Ribeiro, Leites could certainly make some noise in the Middleweight division.
Along with Leites/Kampmann, and the finals of the Ultimate Fighter IV series, it looks like TUF III Light-Heavyweight winner Michael Bisping will be making his long-awaited return to the Octagon on this card too. It appears that his opponent will be Eric 'Ravishing Red' Schafer, who won his UFC debut in August, dispatching of Canadian Rob MacDonald with an arm triangle choke in the first round. Though not noted for his striking abilities, Schafer is a skilled submission fighter who should provide a stern test for 'The Count' in his official UFC debut.
Sources: UFC.com, mma.tv, Portal do Vale Tudo