Great Dubstep … Great Highlight
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UFC 125 “Resolution”
Saturday, Jan. 1
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Shane Carwin vs. Roy Nelson
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Antonio McKee vs. Jacob Volkmann
* Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares
Current Maximum Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Antonio McKee will make his promotional debut in a preliminary matchup against Jacob Volkmann at UFC 125 “Resolution” on Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Seven fights are now official for the event, which will air live on pay-per-view.
McKee will carry an 11-fight winning streak into the match. An International Fight League veteran, he stopped Luciano Azevedo — the only man to defeat current World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Jose Aldo — on first-round strikes at MFC 26 in September. McKee has not lost a fight in nearly eight years and owns other notable victories against former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Delson Heleno, UFC veteran Marcus Aurelio and two-time Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight tournament finalist Toby Imada.
Spawned by the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, Volkmann last appeared at UFC Live 2 in August, when he defeated Paul Kelly by unanimous decision at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego. A decorated amateur wrestler, the 30-year-old was a Big Ten conference champion and three-time Div. I All-American at the University of Minnesota. Volkmann, who once held the Victory Fighting Championship welterweight crown, has secured more than half (six) of his 11 career wins by submission. He has been finished only once — by the world-ranked Martin Kampmann — in 13 professional appearances.
A lightweight title bout pairing champion Frankie Edgar with undefeated challenger Gray Maynard will headline UFC 125, along with a pivotal heavyweight tilt between the once-beaten Shane Carwin and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 winner Roy Nelson. In addition, the oft-injured Thiago Silva will toe the line against Brandon Vera in a featured duel at 205 pounds. A lightweight duel pitting former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi against Clay Guida and a middleweight battle pairing former WEC champion Brian Stann with Chris Leben will round out the main card.
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“That’s usually when you perform your best — when you’re the underdog,” Alvarez said last week during an episode of “The Savage Dog Show” on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I’m expecting the best Roger Huerta possible. That’s what I trained for.”
Huerta has lost three of his last four, but his overall record is still a strong one at 21-4-1. He is 1-1 in Bellator. The promotion likely expected him to win its season two lightweight tournament and set up a showdown for Alvarez’s 155-pound title. That went awry when Huerta lost a unanimous decision to Pat Curran in May, but now that Curran is injured, the anticipated Huerta-Alvarez matchup is coming together after all in the form of a non-title bout.
“He didn’t join with Bellator to take a backseat,” Alvarez said. “He joined Bellator to be their marquee guy, just like the UFC was trying to promote him. Immediately he became a threat to me. He’s been unfortunate in his last couple of outings, but that’s what makes him even more dangerous. He has nothing to lose, zero to lose.”
Huerta has said losing to Alvarez would end up “killing” his career. Alvarez is not sympathetic.
“I’m going to get in his face like nobody’s got in his face before,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to finish him. I don’t think there’s going to be a part of the fight where Roger’s dominant. I want to get right after him and beat him like nobody’s beaten him.”
Huerta is also promising a barnburner. Last week he said not to expect a technical fight, suggesting he’d be more than happy to scrap and scramble. Alvarez has a plan for the scrambling part in particular.
“I already got it taken care of. Don’t even sweat it,” he said. “There’ll be no scrambling going on. … You’ll see it in the fight, a couple little moves we’ve been working on to shut all that down, shut all that scrambling down, all that moving around. We’re going to shut him down.”
Despite his reputation for having heavy hands, Alvarez has won five straight via submission. That’s no accident after the back-and-forth bouts he went through in 2008 against opponents like Tatsuya Kawajiri and Joachim Hansen.
“I got in a lot of battles in ‘08,” Alvarez said. “A lot, a lot of battles, and I think it took years off my fight career. I needed to ease up a little bit and try to get out of some of these things unscathed so I can last a little longer in the sport.”
Fans will be watching for another battle Thursday. The fight will likely be the biggest in Bellator’s young history, and the fact that it’s taking place at the Liacouras Center in Alvarez’s hometown of Philadelphia should deliver a strong live audience. Alvarez expects to sell more than 1,000 tickets himself and hundreds of T-shirts.
“When you see it on TV, you’re going to see a massive amount of people in the same-colored T-shirt,” Alvarez said. “It’s going to be something magical.”
The matchup won’t generate anywhere near the attention of UFC 121 on Saturday, but Alvarez makes a good argument as to why his meeting with Huerta shouldn’t be missed. It’s not $44.95, for one. Fans who have Fox Sports Net will be able to watch the No. 6-ranked lightweight in the world at no extra cost, and his opponent is a gamer.
“We fight,” Alvarez said. “If there’s two guys in MMA who go out and put it all out there, it’s us two. We fight and we don’t give up.”