(Sinosic: Australian for "punching bag.")
Unlike some other ragged-ass UFC events that we could mention, the UFC’s first excursion to Australia is shaping up to be their strongest card in recent memory. We already knew that UFC 110 (February 21st, Sydney) may feature Big Nog vs. Cain Velasquez in the main event, with Wanderlei Silva vs. Michael Bisping in the co-main spot, and Mirko Cro Cop vs. Ben Rothwell in a "who wants to keep their job?" exhibition. But the good times don’t stop there. According to new reports, here’s who else will be headed down under…
— Ryan Bader vs. Keith Jardine. Bader is a perfect 10-0 in his professional MMA career, and has earned unanimous decisions over veterans Carmelo Marrero and Eric Schafer since winning the TUF 8 light-heavyweight contract last December. He’ll be meeting the free-falling Keith Jardine, who has dropped four of his last six fights, including back-to-back losses against Quinton Jackson and Thiago Silva. You gotta feel for the Dean of Mean. The UFC has given him nothing but monsters, and he’s clearly being used as a stepping stone here. If Jardine can’t give Bader his first loss, he may be getting a time-out from his UFC contract.
— Joe Stevenson vs. George Sotiropoulos. Riding back-to-back wins over Nate Diaz and Spencer Fisher, Stevenson is looking to take another step back towards lightweight contendership against Geelong native George Sotiropoulos, who has been a flawless 4-0 since his stint on TUF 6. Of course, those four guys that Georgie wrecked were Ultimate Fighter also-rans, none of whom could hold a candle to Joe Daddy. Stevenson should have the advantage here, but Sotiropoulos’s ground-savagery could score him an upset.
— Elvis Sinosic vs. Chris Haseman. This one’s just for the fans. Australian journeyman Elvis Sinosic (8-11-2) is being given another chance at Octagon glory despite his 1-6 record in the organization; he hasn’t competed in two years, and he hasn’t won a fight in three years. Chris Haseman (20-16) is also Australian, and he’s claimed just one victory in the last seven years. His sole UFC appearance resulted in a decision loss to Evan Tanner at UFC 38. Sinosic and Haseman previously fought at an Australian event in March ’97, with Haseman winning via chin-in-eye submission. This one could get ugly.