UFC 70: NATIONS COLLIDE
MIRKO “CRO COP” vs. GABRIEL GONZAGA
MICHAEL BISPING vs. ELVIS SINOSIC
ANDREI ARLOVSKI vs. FABRICIO WERDUM
DAVID HEATH vs. LYOTO MACHIDA
ASSUERIO SILVA vs. CHEICK KONGO
MATT GRICE vs. TERRY ETIM
JUNIOR ASSUNCAO vs. DAVID LEE
VICTOR VALIMAKI vs. ALESSIO SAKARA
DENNIS SIVER vs. JESS LIAUDIN
EDILBERTO CROCOTA vs. PAUL TAYLOR
LIVE FROM MEN ARENA SATURDAY, APRIL 21
Las Vegas – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) organization announced today the full fight card for UFC 70: NATIONS COLLIDE live from Manchester, England at MEN Arena Saturday, April 21, 2007. Headlining UFC 70 is Croatian superstar Mirko “Cro Cop” vs. Gabriel Gonzaga. The main card also features Belaruse heavyweight Andrei Arlovski vs. Fabricio Werdum; David Heath vs. Lyoto Machida; Britains own The Ultimate Fighter® 3 winner Michael Bisping vs. Elvis Sinosic; and Assuerio Silva vs. Cheick Kongo. Also on the card are exciting matchups between Matt Grice vs. Terry Etim; Junior Assuncao vs. David Lee; Victor Valimaki vs. Alessio Sakara; Dennis Siver vs. Jess Liaudin; and Edilberto Crocota vs. Paul Taylor.
Tickets for UFC 70: NATIONS COLLIDE are on sale with prices starting at £25.00 and are available through MEN Arena Box Office or by calling (011) 0870 190 8000. Tickets are also available online at www.men-arena.com or Ticketmaster.co.uk.
UFC 70: NATIONS COLLIDE will be screened live on Setanta PPV1 (Sky channel 481) at 8:00pm BST on Saturday, April 21, available via remote control through Sky Box Office or by calling 08708 500 005. This star-studded, pay-per-view-quality fight card will telecast on Spike TV in the United States
Mirko “Cro Cop” (22-4-0) 6’2″/220 lbs. fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia is stone-faced and deadly. A 32-year old native of Vinkovci, Croatia, Cro Cop is not only one of the most intimidating figures in combat sports today, he is one of mixed martial arts’ premier heavyweights. He showed it at UFC 67 when he brought his talents to the UFC Octagon™ for the first time and scored an impressive first round TKO of previously unbeaten Eddie Sanchez. For UFC fans, it might as well have been a national holiday for all the hype and anticipation surrounding his arrival. But “Cro Cop” (nicknamed as such because of his former day job as a member of the Croatian anti-terrorist unit ATJ LUCKO) was not about to let the stress of his UFC debut get to him. A former kickboxer who began back in 1994, Cro Cop made his pro debut in 1996 at the age of 21 and over the next seven years he fought the elite of the sport. In 2001, he made his first inroads into MMA and has since compiled a solid MMA record while knocking out some of the biggest names in the sport. He looks to improve his record in the UFC as he takes on Brazilian Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga (7-1-0). At 6’1″/242 lbs., Gonzaga was a winner of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships last July. Perhaps the dark horse of a wide open heavyweight class, the 27-year old Gonzaga has shown an uncanny ability to not only hang with anyone when the fight hits the mat, but to also finish fights in emphatic fashion. He has shown this by his one-punch knockout win over Kevin Jordan at UFC 56 and his second round stoppage of fellow Brazilian Fabiano Scherner at UFC 60. A third impressive finish against then-unbeaten up and comer Carmelo Marrero at UFC 66 makes Gonzaga a hard man to ignore in 2007. Of course, feared striker Mirko “Cro Cop” is unlike any fighter Gonzaga has ever faced, yet this native of Rio De Janeiro knows what it’s like to face adversity and still succeed, as evidenced by his win over Jordan in 2005. Gonzaga knocked out Jordan in the third round of their bout. Now at UFC 70 with a full training camp behind him and a possible shot at UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture on the line, Gonzaga is looking forward to impressing fight fans in England as he plans on taking down the seemingly unstoppable “Cro Cop.”
David Heath (9-0-0) 5’11″/205 lbs., fighting out of Tulsa, Okla., is a light heavyweight contender that has always been a fan of mixed martial arts. It wasn’t until he moved to Tulsa and met UFC veteran Mikey Burnett in 2002 that he began to believe that his dream of fighting in the UFC could become a reality. Since then, he has compiled a pro record that includes two impressive wins in the UFC. In his first Octagon bout, at UFC 62 last August, Heath promised a standup war against ground fighting specialist Cory Walmsley, but he surprised many fight fans by not only surviving on the mat, but by winning the fight via a rear naked choke submission. Heath’s standup was in evidence in his second Octagon appearance though, as he put on an entertaining three round bout with Canada’s Victor Valimaki en route to a hard fought split decision win last December at UFC® Fight Night™ in San Diego. Heath stepped up to the plate to replace inured Forrest Griffin and will put his unbeaten status on the line against unbeaten Brazilian Lyoto Machida (9-0-0). Fighting out of Belem, Brazil 6’1″/205 lbs. and the son of karate master Yoshizo Machida, light heavyweight contender Machida has been involved in martial arts since he began studying karate at the age of three. He would later learn both sumo wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu, with the natural next step in this progression being mixed martial arts. Machida made his MMA debut in 2003 with a decision win over Kengo Watanabe, and has since built one of the most impressive resumes in mixed martial arts over the course of his three year pro career. A dangerous puncher with a warrior’s spirit which is second to none, the unbeaten Brazilian is willing to take on all comers, as evidenced by his victories over world-renowned standouts BJ Penn, Stephan Bonnar, Sam Hoger, and Vernon White. Machida was also the first man to defeat former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. But beneath his obvious talent is the desire to be the best and to make those around him proud.
Michael “The Count” Bisping (13-0-0) 6’2″/205 lbs. fighting out of Liverpool, England enters his UFC 70 bout against former world title challenger Elvis Sinosic not just as a rising light heavyweight prospect and the winner of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, but as the hope of a nation looking for one of its own to succeed on the premier stage in mixed martial arts. A well-rounded 28-year old who is comfortable wherever the fight takes him, Bisping is unbeaten in his pro campaign. He has already made an impressive impact Stateside during his time on The Ultimate Fighter where he stopped Kristian Rothaermel, Ross Pointon, and Josh Haynes en route to the third season crown. In his first post-The Ultimate Fighter bout at UFC 66 last December, Bisping was in fine form as he stopped Eric Schafer in the first round. In Manchester he squares off against the always tough Sinosic (8-9-2). If you ever get a chance to talk to Australian light heavyweight “The King of Rock n Rumble,” you will undoubtedly walk away knowing that he is one of the most accessible and classy athletes you could ever meet in professional sports. But when the bell rings, the smile fades and it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy for the 6’3″/205 pounder who battles rising star Bisping at MEN Arena. A Black Belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Shootfighting, Tae Kwon Do, and Kai Shin, the 36-year-old from Canberra wanted a new challenge, so he entered the MMA arena in 1997 to “test myself to see if the years of training in the Martial Arts really meant anything.” Since then, he has never shied away from a challenge while battling some of the biggest names in the game – including Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn, Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral, Evan Tanner, Alessio Sakara and Forrest Griffin. And while Sinosic has had a rollercoaster career thus far, he is coming off back-to-back submission wins in 2006, and he would like nothing better than to upset the unbeaten Bisping and eventually bring a world title back to his home Down Under.
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (9-2-1) 6’4″/230 lbs., fighting out of Brazil had an introduction to the sport unlike most fighters’. Werdum turned to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because of his ex-girlfriend, and the native of Porto Alegre began training fanatically, eventually earning his Black Belt. In 2002, Werdum looked for a new challenge and found it in mixed martial arts, where he scored victories over UFC veterans Gabriel Gonzaga and Kristof Midoux before taking himself to Japan and establishing himself as a top heavyweight contender. Along the way, Werdum struck up a friendship with a pretty good heavyweight in his own right, Mirko Cro Cop, and the two became training partners. The two fighters will be reunited on the same card in bouts with serious title implications as Werdum takes on Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. Fighting out of Chicago, “The Pitbull” (12-5-0) 6’4″/240 lbs. is a former UFC champion now on the comeback trail. Arlovski has learned from the mistakes of the past and is determined not to repeat them as he attempts to become only the third man in organization history to regain the heavyweight title. Fresh off a first round knockout of skilled grappler Marcio Cruz at UFC 66 last December, the Belarus heavyweight will be facing another tough challenge in Brazil’s Werdum. His tireless efforts in the gym back home in Chicago point to a focused and determined fighter with just one goal in mind – once again becoming the fighter who struck fear in the hearts of an entire division with his striking, his ground game, and the mere mention of his name.
Assuerio Silva (32-4-0) 6’1″/240 lbs. fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil is up to the challenge presented to him at UFC 70. Some people are simply born to fight. Heavyweight Silva is one of those people. In fact, if you ask the Sao Paulo bomber what he did before he became a fighter, he says, “I have always been a fighter. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Training since the age of 17, the 32 year old has impressed fight observers with his impressive all-around game and warrior’s heart. In his first UFC fight in January 2006, Silva went three hard rounds with former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia before losing a decision. And though his second fight in the Octagon saw him lose via submission to Brandon Vera, the Brazilian is determined to get back in the win column by defeating Frenchman Cheick Kongo (19-3-1). Not much was known of 6’4″/240 lbs. Kongo when he made his UFC debut in July of 2006 against Gilbert Aldana. The Paris native had an impressive record and a stellar reputation as a fearsome kickboxer, but once in the Octagon he quickly and emphatically halted the rugged Aldana in the first round. Kongo jumped back in the UFC and scored another first round round stoppage over Christian Wellisch, and a star was born in the heavyweight division. Tonight against Brazilian Silva, Kongo looks to return from his lone UFC loss to Carmelo Marrero with an impressive victory against an experienced contender.
Matt Grice (9-0-0) 5’8″/155 lbs., fighting out of Oklahoma is a decorated high school wrestler whose college career was plagued by injuries. The 25-year old Grice turned to mixed martial arts in 2005 after graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Sociology. Since making his pro debut in October of that year with a first round knockout of Matt Gray, he has been unstoppable, putting together a 9-0 record with all but two of his fights ending in the first round. In Manchester he gets to fulfill a dream he’s held since the sixth grade when he steps into the Octagon to face fellow young gun Terry Etim. He’s come a long way from Harrah, Oklahoma, but Grice is determined to leave the UK with a win over Liverpool’s Etim. Young people are known for always being in a rush, and undefeated Etim (9-0-0) is no exception. This 21-year old at 6’1″/155 lbs. has refused to let any of his nine opponents hear the final bell, winning each bout by knockout or submission. Perhaps the only fighter to share an Octagon with Mike Tyson, who refereed his 2006 submission win over Diego Gonzalez, Etim – like the legendary former heavyweight boxing champion – has built a strong fan following because of his urgent desire to finish fights. This Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai practitioner will have his supporters out in force at MEN Arena when he takes on the United States’ Grice.
Junior Assuncao (5-2-0) 5’9″/155 lbs., fighting out of Atlanta, knows about facing adversity after losing his first pro MMA fight in 2004, and then being submitted in his UFC debut last October by Kurt Pellegrino. In between those defeats, this hard-charging native of Recife, Brazil has put together five wins that have let his peers in the mixed martial arts community know that when you agree to meet him in the Octagon, you will know that you’ve been in a fight. The 25-year old Assuncao has been training in martial arts since 1995 and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 1999, earning a BJJ Brown Belt. His biggest goal right now though is to win a UFC title, and he needs a win over David Lee to keep that quest alive. Lee (5-2-0) 5’10″/155 lbs., fighting out of London is an exciting fighter who is all business once the bell rings in the Octagon. This London native and purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gave up a music career to chase after glory in mixed martial arts and he hasn’t regretted his decision for a moment. Lee’s UFC debut bout didn’t go the way he wanted it, as he was submitted by rising star Tyson Griffin at UFC 63 last September. With plenty of time to regroup and refocus, this 28-year old battler is ready to take whatever Assuncao dishes out and then fire back with his own heavy artillery as he searches for his first Octagon win.
Victor “The Matrix” Valimaki (8-3-0) 6’0″/205 lbs., fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta is a hard-hitting battler from the same camp that has produced Jason MacDonald. Just like the middleweight contender MacDonald, “The Matrix” has rebounded from some early ups and downs in his mixed martial arts career to earn a shot at the UFC. Owner of victories over Hall of Famer Dan Severn and veteran Vernon White, the 25-year old lost a close split decision to David Heath in his Octagon debut last December, but his impressive performance that night guaranteed that fight fans would see him once again in the UFC. Valimaki faces a stern test in Italian striker Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara. Fighting out of Rio de Janiero, Brazil the 6’1″/205 lbs. (14-4-0) Sakara has built a reputation as a fighter to watch in the UFC with his explosive fights against Ron Faircloth and Elvis Sinosic. Former pro boxer Sakara hit a wall in his mixed martial arts career with consecutive losses to Dean Lister and Drew McFedries. Sometimes a defeat can teach you more about character than a victory, and Sakara believes this to be true in his case as he returns to the Octagon with everything on the line tonight against Canada’s Valimaki. That’s the way this 25-year old native of Rome likes it, and when the bell rings, fight fans should get ready for fireworks.
Dennis Siver (10-3-0) 5’7″/170 lbs., fighting out of Manheim, Germany is a 28-year old fighter with over a decade’s experience in Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, and Judo. Germany-based Russian Siver comes to the UFC with a well-earned reputation as a young man with the potential to one day do spectacular things in mixed martial arts. He hasn’t done too badly for himself so far, as he’s defeated 10 of 13 opponents and begins his 2007 campaign against Jess “The Joker” Liaudin after fighting an incredible seven times last year. Liaudin (10-8-0) 5’9″/170 lbs., fighting out of London, is a seasoned veteran who has been fighting professionally in MMA since 2000. “The Joker” has also been competing in various forms of martial arts since the age of 15, encompassing over 80 fights. Along the way he has faced such standouts as Shonie Carter while putting together a current three fight win streak that has led him to the Octagon to face highly-regarded Siver. Against the German fighter, Liaudin can be expected to do any number of things – from ending the fight with a heel hook or putting his foe to sleep with a spinning backfist. But you can be sure that whatever “The Joker” pulls from his bag of tricks, it will be entertaining.
Edilberto Crocota (10-0-1) 6’0″/170 lbs., fighting out of Bahia, Brazil is a training partner of UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and heavyweight standout Minotauro Nogueira. Former State boxing champion, Crocota is on the right track to following in his stablemates’ footsteps, as his stellar record demonstrates. Winning isn’t the only thing on the Brazilian’s mind though, as his aggressive attitude and well-rounded style always provides for an entertaining fight for the fans. The 24-year old Crocota hopes to introduce his opponent Paul “Relentless” Taylor to the crocodile’s bite as he shows fight fans what he can do when the pressure’s on. Taylor (7-1-1) 6’0″/170 lbs., fighting out of Walsall, England considers his biggest strength to be what he calls “relentless endurance.” This is a quality that has served him well throughout a four year mixed martial arts career that has seen him win seven of nine fights, with the only loss coming to UFC veteran Yuki Sasaki last May. This 27-year old former world kickboxing champion enters the Octagon for the first time to take on Crocota, and in doing so he gets an opportunity to not only show off his skills for his home country fans, but to firmly establish himself as the UK’s brightest welterweight hope for future world title honors.
*All bouts are live and subject to change.