by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship expects to close out 2008 with a bang as the promotion has decided on three key match-ups for their year end show on Dec 27.
Interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will face Frank Mir, while light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin returns to action defending his belt against Rashad Evans and Wanderlei Silva goes for three in a row against former 205lb champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The news was confirmed by UFC President Dana White to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.
The fights will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and with those three match-ups along with a solid undercard including Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister, which was first reported on MMAWeekly.com earlier this week, the UFC is looking at one of their most stacked cards this year.
White told Iole that he wanted to “stack” the end year show and with three huge match-ups, including two title fights, the UFC has done exactly that.
Nogueira and Mir were already expected to meet after their stint as coaches on this season’s version of the “Ultimate Fighter”, but the new bouts announced bring a powerful punch to the card.
Forrest Griffin’s meteoric rise up the light heavyweight division began with his run to win the “Ultimate Fighter” season 1 and culminated with his 5 round win over former champion, Quinton Jackson, in July.
As for Rashad Evans, the “Ultimate Fighter” season 2 winner, he cemented himself in the top contender spot after a devastating knockout of Chuck Liddell in early September.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will also return for the first time since losing his title and going through a very tumultuous summer which included him leaving former trainer, Juanito Ibarra, and his arrest in California after a hit and run chase with local police.
This will be the third time for Jackson to take a shot at former Pride champion, Wanderlei Silva, who defeated Rampage both previous times in dominant fashion while the two fighters were mainstays in the now defunct Pride Fighting Championships.
The event will take place on Dec 27 in Las Vegas, NV.