by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Gentleman, start your engines.
The UFC will be making its way to the city made famous for the Indianapolis 500, except they’ll be bringing the fight instead of the race. All signs are pointing towards the promotion making its first appearance in the state of Indiana on Sept. 25 for UFC 119, with the first fight confirmed for the show pitting former NFL player turned fighter Matt Mitrione against Joey Beltran in a heavyweight contest.
The news was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fight on Wednesday, although final confirmation on the show in Indianapolis still has not been announced by the UFC.
The state of Indiana just recently ratified and sanctioned the sport of mixed martial arts, but it didn’t take long for the UFC to set their sights on the Indianapolis sports market. Home to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, it is a sports rich area in the Midwest and home state to fighters such as Jon Fitch and Miguel Torres.
The first fight confirmed for the card will showcase Matt Mitrione, who played his college football in Indiana at Purdue University. It will be his first fight since finishing Kimbo Slice at UFC 113. The former NFL pro resides in Indiana, but has trained most recently out of Milwaukee with famed coach Duke Roufus and his team.
Taking on Mitrione will be heavy-handed slugger Joey Beltran, who currently sits with a 2-0 record in the Octagon, and recently picked up a decision win over Tim Hague, also at UFC 113 in Montreal.
The two heavyweights will go to battle on the Sept. 25 card, with more bouts to be announced in the coming weeks. What hasn’t been rumored or announced yet is if the UFC goes to Indianapolis, where the show will take place. The Conseco Fieldhouse is home to the Indiana Pacers, while Lucas Oil Stadium plays home to the Indianapolis Colts.
Either stadium would seem to fit the UFC model for a show, but confirmation on a location remains elusive.