(“Thess! Ezz! SPARTA!!!”)
With UFC events popping up at an alarming rate, matchmaker Joe Silva has been working overtime to fill the cards with talent. We can barely keep up with the announcements and rumors that have surfaced in the last few days, but here’s the important stuff:
— Poppin’ off in Columbus on March 1st, UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” will reportedly feature the return of Andre Arlovski, who has been in a contract dispute with the UFC since his decision win over Fabricio Werdum in April 2007. His opponent is likely to be Jake O’Brien, a 10-0 heavyweight known for his dull decision victories. Also scheduled to be on “PoaC” card is Diego Sanchez — who won 17 straight fights before dropping his last two to Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch — taking on 12-6 Brazilian Roan Carneiro, in a fight tailor-made to get him moving up the welterweight ladder again. No more Sonoma, no more excuses.
— Speaking of Fabricio Werdum, the Chute Boxe brawler has parlayed his one-fight win streak into a title shot. Dana White has confirmed that Werdum will face the winner of UFC 81′s Tim Sylvia/Minotauro Nogueira match for the interim heavyweight title, assuming that Randy Couture turns the fight down. The sad part about this situation is how logical it is. Even though Werdum has looked very underwhelming in his two UFC fights, the only other UFC heavyweights who are equally qualified to challenge the belt are Cheick Kongo (and that’s if he beats Heath Herring in March) and Andrei Arlovski (and God help me if I have to sit through a fourth fight between the Pitbull and the Maine-iac). The Octagon’s remaining heavyweights are all either too inexperienced or are coming off losses. To that end, the UFC is wisely looking toward signing new 206+ talent, and have just picked up 8-0 prospect Shane Carwin, who has dominated competition in regional promotions like Art of War and Ring of Fire. Carwin has previously fought as a super-heavyweight but will drop to 265 for the UFC.
— TUF 3 vet Ed “Short Fuse” Herman will return to the Octagon at UFC 83 on March 8th, taking on fellow middleweight Demian Maia. Herman has finished his last three fights, submitting Chris Price and Scott Smith, and knocking out Joe Doerksen at UFC 78. Maia has a perfect 6-0 record, and made his UFC debut at “Hostile Territory” in October, choking out Ryan Jensen in the first round.
— A match between Karo Parisyan and Thiago Alves has been added to the UFC Fight Night 13 card, scheduled to happen April 2nd in Broomfield, Colorado. If you’ll recall, Parisyan had expressed his desire for his next fight to be a “guaranteed win,” compelling us to call him a “guaranteed pussy.”
— It’s been confirmed that former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner — who’s had a rough time of it since his last fight in April 2006 — will face Yushin Okami at UFC 84 on April 19th in Montreal. Okami is 5-1 in the UFC with notable wins over Mike Swick and Jason MacDonald. The winner of their bout could potentially face the winner of A. Silva/Henderson for the middleweight title.