MMA NEWS

Ed West vs. Zach Makovsky bantamweight tourney finale set for Bellator 32

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Oct 01, 2010 at 3:15 pm ET
9Bellator Fighting Championships will crown its first-ever bantamweight champion on Oct. 14.

That's when tournament finalists Ed West (15-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC) and Zach Makovsky (11-2 MMA, 3-0 BFC) meet in a five-round title fight at Bellator 32, officials today announced.

Bellator 32 takes place in Missouri at the Kansas City Power & Light District.

The night's main card, which also includes a Cole Konrad vs. Neil Grove heavyweight tournament finale, airs on FOX Sports Net.

West, a former IFL fighter, defeated Bryan Goldsby (unanimous decision) in the quarterfinals and Jose Vega (split decision) in the semifinals to advance to the finale. The eight-year vet now has won seven consecutive fights since a disappointing three-fight skid in 2007.

Makovsky, who previously competed under the EliteXC banner, submitted Eric Luke in a season-two fight and then got an invitation into this season's tourney. He advanced to the finale with a pair of decision wins over Nick Mamalis and Bryan Goldsby. He now has a five-fight win streak of his own.

For more on Bellator 32, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Zach Mavovsky)

Bellator 31 recap: Fujii, Frausto punch tourney-finale tickets, Lozano tops Yoshida

by Steven Marrocco on Sep 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm ET
10At Bellator 31, one undefeated prospect punched his way into the promotion's season-four welterweight tourney, and the finals of a women's 115-pound tournament were set.

Bellator 31 took place Thursday at the L'Auberge du Lac Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, La., and aired live on Fox Sports.

Bellator newcomers Chris Lozano and Yoshiyuki Yoshida kicked off the televised card with an entertaining battle of wills.

UFC veteran and Judo standout Yoshida had a clear mandate to take the fight to the mat against the striking-savvy Lozano. From the bell, he charged across no man's land and took shots along the way. But with his quick takedown and transition to mount, it looked like it might be an easy night.

Lozano, though, proved tougher than expected to hold down. He escaped the dicey position and threw a spinning elbow that briefly deposited the Japanese fighter on the mat. When Yoshida righted himself and gave chase, Lozano followed up with a straight right that again staggered the UFC vet.

Inexplicably, Lozano almost handed away the fight when he appeared to roll for a kneebar and ended up giving up his back. But he again managed to escape and went back to business in the second frame.

Yoshida then resumed his mission to get the fight to the mat, but Lozano was ready this time around. The undefeated prospect landed two knees to Yoshida's head that again dropped the veteran and had him on thin ice.

A desperation takedown saved Yoshida, and he even managed to threaten Lozano with an armbar attempt. But he gave up position in doing so, and his opponent rained down punishment that had him turtling up as the second round neared its end.  

The punishment caused Yoshida's eye to swell uncontrollably, and between the second and third frames, his corner called off the fight.

It was the third consecutive loss for Yoshida (11-5 MMA, 0-1 BFC), who's defeat to Mike Guymon at UFC 113 brought his octagon walking papers.

"I just had to take what I had and damage him any way I could," Lozano (6-0 MMA, 1-0 BFC) said of his powerful strikes inside the clinch and on the canvas. "I just got busy, man. When I smell blood, I'm like a shark in the water."

Lozano is now expected to join welterweights Dan Hornbuckle, Steve Carl, Brent Weedman and future additions in Bellator's season-four tournament.

In the first women's 115-pound tournament semifinal bout of the evening, Zoila Frausto squeaked out a controversial split-decision victory over Jessica Aguilar to advance to the finals.

Early concerns about Frausto's tough weight cut proved unneeded as the Team Jorge Gurgel product stayed light on her feet and, in fact, almost entirely on her bicycle. (Frausto missed weight by four-tenths of a pound on her first attempt and came in at an acceptable 116 pounds on the second try.)

Aguilar spent the majority of the fight chasing down her opponent, though she bucked expectations that she would use her grappling abilities to take the fight where she had a paper advantage. Instead, she jammed in on Frausto and played the striking game.

What transpired largely was a point sparring affair, with no more than three strikes thrown per exchange. It appeared, though, that Aguilar landed a greater number of clean punches while avoiding Frausto's bombs.

As the fight wore on, Aguilar began to time Frausto's constant circling and sneak through a straight right hand that scored consistently. Frausto, meanwhile, played the hit-and-run attack and landed several stinging leg kicks, though she never managed to rock the American Top Team fighter with punches.

In the fight's final frame, Aguilar turned up the pace and chased an increasingly tired Frausto with strikes. A right-hand left-hook combination caused the most damage to Frausto, who began to bleed out of her nose. Running low on options, Frausto dove twice for takedowns and nearly walked into a picture-perfect guillotine as the fight came to a close.

It appeared to be a clear-cut victory for Aguilar, who earned her semifinal berth with a submission victory over Lynn Alvarez. But in a bizarre tally, two judges gave the contest to Frausto (8-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) with 30-27 scores. The other dissented completely and awarded Aguilar a 30-27 mark. Aguilar (9-4 MMA, 1-1 BFC) was stunned, and the audience vocalized its displeasure.

In the other women's semifinal, undefeated sensation Megumi Fujii left no doubt in Lisa Ward's mind that she is the superior submission fighter.

Ward claimed she never tapped to an armbar Fujii applied in their first meeting more than three years ago in the now-defunct BodogFIGHT promotion.

This time, she most certainly tapped. Fujii (22-0 MMA, 3-0 BFC) starched her with a flurry of punches, got the takedown, and gained mount within two minutes. A first armbar attempt was blocked by the cage, but the second gave Ward (14-6 MMA, 2-1 BFC) no choice but to submit.

Bellator 31's full results included:

MAIN CARD
  • Chris Lozano def. Yoshiyuki Yoshida via TKO (corner stoppage) - Round 2, 5:00
  • Zoila Frausto def. Jessica Aguilar via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27)
  • Megumi Fujii def. Lisa Ward via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 1:39
PRELIMINARY CARD
  • Mark Holata def. Shawn Jordan via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:13
  • Tim Ruberg def. Aaron Davis via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 1:44
  • Dave Herman def. Michael Kita via submission (omoplata) - Round 1, 3:16
  • Mike Chandler def. Scott Stapp via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:57
For more on Bellator 31, stay tuned to the MMA Events section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Zoila Frausto)


WEC champ Jose Aldo says plenty of challenges still await in featherweight division

by John Morgan on Oct 01, 2010 at 1:45 am ET
3BROOMFIELD, Colo. WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (18-1 MMA, 8-0 WEC) might as well get used to the question.

After his latest destruction of a top contender this time, a WEC 51 win over Manny Gamburyan in Broomfield, Colo. MMA pundits and fans alike once againwere forced to ask, "Is there anyone who can beat Aldo in the 145-pound division?"

Aldo says he believes there are plenty of deserving contenders on the horizon, and while he's not opposed to moving up in weight someday, he's just fine where he's at right now.

"The same way that Manny earned his title shot, there's a lot of guys that are going to come up and earn their title shots," Aldo told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) through his interpreter.

In the main event of Thursday's Versus-broadcast event, Aldo earned his 11th consecutive win overall and remained undefeated since debuting in the WEC. It was a patient approach to facing a hyper-aggressive opponent, and Aldo said he was unfazed by the boos that came in early from the 1STBANK Center crowd.

"I think that's normal with a fight that's a little stale," Aldo said. "The public wants to see the action."

In fact, Aldo's attack was so conservative, only judge Mark Van Tine awarded the champion the opening frame. Judges Nelson Hamilton and Joe Garcia instead saw Gamburyan claim a 10-9 round.

Aldo says he understands why he fell behind, but it was all part of a master plan.

"That's normal (for the crowd to boo), but I think they were happy with the end," Aldo said. "I think it's the same thing that happened against Urijah (Faber). They gave him the first round.

"I try to study my opponent in the first round. In the second round, I was able to execute my gameplan."

Indeed, he was.

Aldo looked more comfortable, more ready to attack in the second frame. As Gamburyan looked to close the distance, Aldo stunned him with a counterpunch and immediately pounced on the wounded prey with a series of powerful ground-and-pound blows that left the challenger unconscious on the mat just 92 seconds into the round.

To hear Aldo tell it, it was like a lion playing with its dinner.

"I saw what Manny was trying to do in the fight, and I wanted to take the shortest route to the end of the fight," Aldo said. "I wanted to see what Manny's strong points in the fight were going to be, and then I was able to end it.

"I did everything I trained for. I came in with a clear mind and executed my gameplan in the fight. Thankfully I was able to do that."

As for what's next, it's anybody's guess. Mark Hominick made a nice case for himself with a WEC 51 win his fourth-straight victory overall. Josh Grispi is 4-0 in the WEC and owns 10-straight overall wins.

If WEC lightweight Donald Cerrone (12-3 MMA, 5-3 WEC), who also picked up a key win at WEC 51, has his way, Aldo might have an opponent already lined up at 155 pounds.

WEC general manager Reed Harris was quick to point out Cerrone's wide grin when Aldo was discussing the possibility of a future lightweight bout. In fact, in a comical reference to Cerrone's ongoing verbal battles with arch-rival Jamie Varner, Harris even jokingly signed-off on the fight.

"They can't really talk [expletive] because they don't speak the same language, so that would be alright with me," Harris said with a laugh.

As for the 24-year-old Aldo quickly gaining praise as one of the world's top pound-for-pound fighters with seven knockout wins in eight WEC bouts he says he'll let company brass ultimately decide.

"I'm here for the WEC," Aldo said. "Whoever they put in front of me, I'll have to be ready."

For complete coverage of WEC 51, stay tuned to the MMA Events section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Jose Aldo)

Despite fighting with broken hand, WEC 51's Mark Hominick saw few surprises

by John Morgan on Oct 01, 2010 at 10:45 am ET
4BROOMFIELD, Colo. WEC featherweight contender Mark Hominick didn't show up to Thursday's post-WEC 51 press conference with a cast on his hand.

Then again, he didn't wear one to that evening's fight with Leonard Garcia, either.

But despite the obvious lack of medical supplies surrounding his jab hand, Hominick revealed following his split-decision win over Leonard Garcia that he outstruck his opponent for 15 minutes despite suffering a broken hand several days prior to the contest.

"It was my thumb," Hominick told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I'll have to get a cast, but in four weeks, it will be all OK. The last hard day (of practice), someone just rolled on my thumb, and it rolled all the way back. I just taped it up."

Despite the obvious disadvantage of trying to win a fight with a bum paw, Hominick said it never crossed his mind once to withdraw from the contest.

"I had a strong mental edge going into the fight," said Hominick, who opened the Versus-televised broadcast from the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo. "There was nothing that was going to stop me. I knew I was going to fight regardless."

And fight he did. Hominick (19-8 MMA, 3-2 WEC) stood toe to toe with Garcia (14-6-1 MMA, 4-3-1 WEC) throughout the contest. The Canadian delivered jab after jab with the injured hand while avoiding the haymakers Garcia was firing off at every corner.

And while Hominick has shown capable submission skills throughout his 27-fight career, the Team Tompkins fighter said he never once considered bringing the fight to the floor.

"That's the type of fighter both Leonard and I are," Hominick said. "To stand there and trade, that's our M.O.s.

"We knew exactly what our gameplans were going to be. Mine was more technical, and he was going to try and make it a brawl."

The technical fighter won out.

Despite the impressive performance, Hominick actually expressed some displeasure in his approach. While Hominick picked his fight opponent apart, the 28-year-old said he had expected to stay a little more active.

"What we wanted to do was frustrate him in hitting him first and making him throw and miss and counter," Hominick said. "I was hoping I could have countered a little bit more. I was countering with single punches, and it should have been twos and threes. But that was the gameplan to just get in his face and swing off that."

Despite Hominick's perceived shortcomings, most observers believed he deserved more than a split-decision result (MMAjunkie.com actually scored the bout 30-27 in his favor). Nevertheless, Hominick, who's only been to a decision five times in his 27 career outings, said he was anything but certain.

"You never know how the judges are seeing it," Hominick said. "You're kind of holding your breath. When you hear the other guy gets one of the cards, it's like, 'Oh, man.' You swallow your heart.

"It makes you want to finish the fights, for sure."

Hominick is now riding a four-fight win streak that includes three-straight victories in the WEC cage. They have the well-rounded competitor firmly in 145-pound title-shot discussions. The only man to beat Hominick in his past seven fights is fellow top featherweight Josh Grispi.

Riding high on confidence, Hominick said he's comfortable bidding next for either the title or revenge, whichever the WEC sees most fit.

"I know there's no one in this division that brings to the table what I do my technical ability and what I bring on the feet," Hominick said. "There's no one in this division that brings that. I do bring a different element compared to a lot of different guys.

"Josh Grispi is one of those guys that's been a really bitter pill for me to swallow. I haven't been able to get over that fight, and I would love to get that opportunity one time. But if you're not in this sport to fight for a title, you picked the wrong game."

For complete coverage of WEC 51, stay tuned to the MMA Events section of MMAjunkie.com.

"The Ultimate Fighter 12" ratings climb again, episode No. 3 draws 1.8 million

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Sep 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm ET
6The third episode of "The Ultimate Fighter 12: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck" scored a 1.3 household rating and 1.8 million viewers.

Spike TV officials today emailed the ratings information to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

The ratings were the best of the season and topped both the season debut (1.6 million viewers) and this past week's second episode, which drew 1.7 million viewers.

As is typical with most episodes of "The Ultimate Fighter," the final quarter-hour of the episode

The ratings remained fairly consistent throughout the one-hour episode with the household rating bouncing between 1.2 and 1.3 each quarter hour.

"TUF 12," which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, features welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck as coaches overseeing 28 lightweight fighters. Episode No. 3 saw the second opening-round matchup as Team St-Pierre's Michael Johnson scored a submission win over Team Koscheck's Aaron Wilkinson. Team GSP now has a 2-0 lead.

The ratings figures for episode No. 3 include an impressive 1.71 rating among men 18-49, a 1.90 among men 18-34, and a 2.3 among men 25-34.

The full season ratings include:
Spike TV, which has hosted "TUF" since its debut in 2005, is available in 98.6 million homes.

For the latest on this season, stay tuned to "The Ultimate Fighter 12" section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Michael Johnson)

"UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida" official with 11 total contests

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Oct 02, 2010 at 11:25 am ET
8The UFC's first event in Michigan since UFC 9 in May 1996 in now official with 11 contests.

UFC brass today officially announced five additional contests for "UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida," and the pay-per-view's lineup is now complete.

Main card additions include Tim Boetsch vs. Phil Davis and Joe Lauzon vs. George Sotiropoulos, while new preliminary contests feature Matt Brown vs. Rory MacDonald, Darren Elkins vs. Edson Barboza and Paul Kelly vs. Gabe Ruediger.

All five fights were previously reported by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

UFC 123 takes place Nov. 20 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit. A light-heavyweight bout between former champs Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida headlines the pay-per-view portion of the show.

Davis (7-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is a little more than a month removed from a short-notice fight at UFC 117 when he stepped in for injured newcomer Stanislav Nedkov and bested Rodney Wallace on points. It was the decorated collegiate wrestler's third-consecutive UFC win after impressive victories over Alexander Gustafsson and Brian Stann at UFC 112 and UFC 109, respectively.

It's all but certain, though, that Boetsch (12-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), nicknamed "The Barbarian," will try to outmuscle the up-and-comer. Boetsch recently returned to the octagon at UFC 117 following a three-fight win streak on the regional circuit and bullied newcomer Todd Brown for a unanimous decision.

Sotiropoulos (13-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC), a cast member on "The Ultimate Fighter 6" who recently defeated Kurt Pellegrino, carries a six-fight UFC win streak (and overall seven-fight win streak) into UFC 123. And though multiple sources told MMAjunkie.com that the UFC tentatively is planning a February return to Sotiropoulos' home country of Australia, a potential title shot may not come there.

Besides, getting past Lauzon (19-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is going to be no easy feat for Sotiropoulos. The "TUF 5" cast member has dealt with injuries in recent years but recently came into a UFC 118 bout with Gabe Ruediger in good health. And it made a difference; Lauzon simply overwhelmed and battered Ruediger for a dominating and eventual first-round submission victory. It marked the "TUF 5" cast member's third win in his past four fights, which included stoppage victories over Jeremy Stephens and Kyle Bradley.

The complete UFC 123 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD
  • Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida
  • Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn
  • Maiquel Falcao vs. Gerald Harris
  • Tim Boetsch vs. Phil Davis
  • Joe Lauzon vs. George Sotiropoulos
PRELIMINARY CARD
  • Mark Munoz vs. Aaron Simpson
  • Matt Brown vs. Rory MacDonald
  • Dennis Hallman vs. Karo Parisyan
  • Darren Elkins vs. Edson Barboza
  • Paul Kelly vs. Gabe Ruediger
  • Nik Lentz vs. Tyson Griffin
For the latest on UFC 123, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Phil Davis)

"Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II" weigh-ins set for Oct. 8 at HP Pavilion

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Oct 02, 2010 at 9:30 am ET
7Weigh-ins for next week's "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II" event are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 8, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

The proceedings, which begin at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT local time), are free and open to the public.

The same venue also hosts Saturday's fight card, which airs on Showtime.

Doors for the weigh-in ceremony open at 3:30 p.m. PT local time.

"Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II" features a main event between Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz (22-7 MMA, 3-0 SF) and former EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons (10-2 MMA, 2-0 SF). The contest serves as a rematch of the pair's November 2007 meeting in which Noons earned a TKO victory at the close of the first round. Noons has since reeled off four more wins, while Diaz is 7-0 since the loss.

The evening's main card also sees an intriguing lightweight bout between former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson (17-3 MMA, 8-2 SF) and promotional newcomer Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante (15-3-1 MMA, 0-0 SF), as well as a 135-pound female title fight between undefeated champion Sarah Kaufman (12-0 MMA, 4-0 SF) and top challenger Marloes Coenen 17-4 MMA, 1-1 SF).

A welterweight bout between undefeated Tyron Woodley (8-0 MMA, 3-0 SF) and fellow prospect Andre Galvao (5-1 MMA, 2-0 SF) rounds out the main card.

The full "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II" card includes:

MAIN CARD
  • Champ Nick Diaz vs. K.J. Noons (for welterweight title)
  • Champ Sarah Kaufman vs. Marloes Coenen (for women's welterweight title)
  • Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante vs. Josh Thomson
  • Andre Galvao vs. Tyron Woodley
PRELIMINARY CARD
  • Bret Bergmark vs. James Terry
  • Ron Keslar vs. Eric Lawson
  • Jess Bouscal vs. Luis Mendoza
For the latest on the "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons 2," stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

(Pictured: Nick Diaz)

Megumi Fujii vs. Zoila Frausto tourney finale slated for Bellator 34

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Oct 01, 2010 at 12:50 pm ET
5This month's Bellator 34 card got another title fight.

Joining a previously reported title fight between middleweight champ Hector Lombard and season-two tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko is the organization's women's 115-pound tournament finale.

The Oct. 28 event pits Megumi Fujii (22-0 MMA, 3-0 BFC) against Zoila Frausto (9-1 MMA, 3-0 BFC).

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the date with Bellator officials. Bellator 34 takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. The event concludes Bellator's current third season and airs on FOX Sports Net.

Fujii and Frausto punched their tickets to the finale with semifinal wins at Thursday's Bellator 31 event. They fight for both the tournament crown and the first-ever Bellator women's championship.

After scoring a TKO win over Sarah Schneider in a season-two showcase fight, Fujii entered the tourney field and submitted both Carla Esparza and Lisa Ward via armbar. The famed Japanese fighter has now won 22 consecutive fights, and the past 10 have come stoppage.

Frausto, a former Strikeforce fighter, earned her way into the tourney with a stunning season-two upset of would-be competitor Rosi Sexton. After taking the notable British's fighter's slot, Frausto then scored a unanimous-decision win over Jessica Pene in the opening round and narrowly edged Jessica Aguilar via split decision at Bellator 31.

For more on Bellator 34, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Megumi Fujii)


Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones targeted for UFC 127 in February

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Oct 02, 2010 at 1:05 pm ET
2A matchup between two of the brightest prospects in the UFC's light heavyweight division appears likely for early 2011.

A long-discussed contest between "The Ultimate Fighter 8" winner Ryan Bader (12-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and the dynamic 23-year-old Jon Jones (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) appears likely for the as-yet-unannounced UFC 127 event.

MMAjunkie.com
(www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the planned date from sources close to the event.

UFC 127 is expected to take place Feb. 5 in Las Vegas and feature a middleweight title fight between current champion Anderson Silva and dangerous striker Vitor Belfort.

Jones' agent, Malki Kawa, recently told MMAWeekly.com he was hoping for a Jan. 1 booking for his client, but that now appears unlikely.

Bader recently earned a high-profile decision win over longtime veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at this past-month's UFC 119 event. The win was Bader's fifth-straight in the octagon and 12-straight victory overall since turning pro.

Meanwhile, Jones fought most recently in August, when he needed just 1 minute and 52 seconds to dispatch of another longtime veteran, Vladimir Matyushenko.

The prospective matchup between Bader and Jones has been rumored for months, and "Bones" talked about the potential contest on Friday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA."

"If that's the fight to have, I'm excited," Jones said.

While Bader's wrestling credentials are well-documented, Jones said he sees the contest as a chance to proves his own grappling prowess.

"I've been trying to prove that since my debut," Jones said. "I'm trying to secure a respect level in my wrestling. I'm sure Ryan Bader, the advantage he'll have going in is to be 'the better wrestler.' I want to try and prove the UFC wrong again.

"It'll be fun."

While the UFC's 205-pound division is one of the promotion's deepest, the winner of the Bader-Jones contest will certainly emerge as a top contender. And should he prove victorious, Jones says he hopes to face someone with a different skillset than Bader and past opponents Matyushenko, Matt Hamill and Jake O'Brien.

"I'm ready to fight some strikers; I'm ready to fight some southpaws," Jones said. "I'm ready to really mix it up, maybe some jiu-jitsu black belts., but if this is what I have, this is what I have."

For more on the rumored UFC 127 event, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.

(Pictured: Jon Jones)


Antonio McKee vs. Jacob Volkmann in the works for UFC 125 in January

by Steven Marrocco on Oct 02, 2010 at 3:55 pm ET
1"Mandingo" meets "Christmas" on New Year's Day.

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that the 40-year-old Antonio "Mandingo" McKee (25-3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Jacob "Christmas" Volkmann (11-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 125 and contracts are expected to be finalized shortly.

While not officially announced by the organization, UFC 125 is expected to take place Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and air on pay-per-view.

After years of carrying the unofficial title of "world's most boring fighter," McKee, a former amateur wrestler, made a concerted effort to smash that mantle with two recent stoppage wins. The performances earned the outspoken 11-year-vet a shot in the world's biggest mixed martial arts promotion.

McKee brings with him a 15-fight unbeaten streak that carries 11 wins via decision.

Meanwhile, Volkmann opened his UFC career in difficult fashion after enduring back-to-back losses to top contenders Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann. However, since that tough skid, Volkmann has bounced back with decision wins over Paul Kelly and Ronys Torres.

The bout is expected to place on the evening's preliminary card.

For more on UFC 125, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Jacob Volkmann)



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Ring


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