Hot on the heels of the announcement that UFC champions Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson were nominated for Best Fighter in the ESPY awards presented by ESPN, the Ultimate Fighting Championship officially announced UFC 74.
Scheduled for August 25 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, UFC 74: Respect features Couture in his first title defense since defeating Tim Sylvia in March. The only man ever to hold the heavyweight championship three times, Couture puts his belt on the line against Gabriel Gonzaga. Gonzaga earned his shot by knocking out Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic before a stunned crowd at UFC 70 in Manchester, England.
“With Gonzaga coming in and beating Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ the way he did and Randy Couture defeating Tim Sylvia the way he did makes for one of the most exciting heavyweight fights in UFC history,” said UFC President Dana White. “I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a heavyweight matchup – I can’t wait to see these two get in the Octagon at UFC 74.”
The UFC also announced a bout between Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck for the event. UFC 74 will mark St-Pierre’s first fight since losing the welterweight title to Matt Serra. Koscheck most recently defeated Diego Sanchez as part of the supporting cast at UFC 69 in Houston, Texas where St-Pierre lost his belt.
Other rumored bouts for UFC 74, but not announced or verified by the UFC, are the return of Hayato “Mach” Sakurai to the UFC in a bout with Sanchez at welterweight and a lightweight contest between Joe Stevenson and Kurt Pellegrino.
Tickets for UFC 74 go on sale Sunday, July 8.