The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Friday officially announced the undercard bouts for its Feb. 2 UFC 81 fight card in Las Vegas.
The main event features former UFC champion Tim Sylvia facing former Pride champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim heavyweight title. Former NCAA national champion Brock Lesnar makes his Octagon debut in a bout with another former UFC champion in Frank Mir in the co-main event.
The televised portion of the card is also set to feature Nate Marquardt in his return bout, coming off of a loss to current middleweight champ Anderson Silva, as he squares off with UFC and Pride veteran Jeremy Horn.
Marquardt reeled off four straight victories in the UFC before succumbing to Silva. He is a seven-time King of Pancrase. His opponent has more than 100 career bouts to his record including 10 in the UFC alone. Horn has a wealth of experience that should present a tough test for Marquardt as he tries to get back on the winning track and Horn tries to re-establish himself on the world stage.
A fight between Marquardt and Horn was actually scheduled to take place in Sturgis, S.D. in 2004 at an International Fighting Championship event that fell apart amidst a scandal between its business partners.
Also scheduled for the televised portion of the card is the return of Renzo Gracie protégé Ricardo Almeida as he faces fellow UFC veteran Alan Belcher. Almeida was one a six-fight winning streak when he walked away from the sport in 2004. He will make his return at the Mandalay Bay Event Center, but steps in against Belcher, who has gone 3-2 in the UFC, but brings a two-fight streak to the Octagon against Almeida.
The full fight card as announced by the UFC:
Main Card Bouts:
-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia
-Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir
-Nathan Marquardt vs. Jeremy Horn
-Alan Belcher vs. Ricardo Almeida
-Tyson Griffin vs. Gleison Tibau
-Chris Lytle vs. Kyle Bradley
-Terry Martin vs. Marvin Eastman
-David Heath vs. Tim Boetsch
-Keita Nakamura vs. Rob Emerson