- ULTIMATE FIGHTER FINALISTS, FIGHT CARD SET

June 18, 2009
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Press Release courtesy of Spike TV
After weeks of grueling training, tense cohabitation with the opposition, and explosive elimination bouts, “The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom™” live finale is set, with Team UK teammates Andre Winner and Ross Pearson battling for the lightweight (155lb) crown, and Team US competitor DaMarques Johnson squaring off against Team UK’s James Wilks in the welterweight division (170 lbs). Emanating from The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, on Saturday, June 20 at 9:00 PM ET, the finalists will be competing for a six-figure contract with the preeminent mixed martial arts organization in the world, The Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The televised fight card will also feature three “The Ultimate Fighter” champions in action, headlined by Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez facing Clay Guida in what promises to be an action packed battle between top lightweight contenders. The evening’s co-feature pits Season 2 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Joe “Daddy” Stevenson against Season 5 victor Nate Diaz in lightweight action. The televised card also features Season 4 finalist Chris Lytle against Kevin Burns in the welterweight division.

The undercard includes the following bouts:

Cameron Dollar vs. Jason Dent
Frank Lester vs. Nick Osipczak
Mike Ciesnolevicz vs. Thomas Drwal
Edgar Garcia vs. Brad Blackburn
Gleison Tibau vs. Melvin Guillard

About The Finalists:

LIGHTWEIGHTS

ROSS PEARSON – TEAM UK
Age: 24
MMA record: 9-3
Fighting out of: Sunderland, England
Gym: Sunderland Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Club, Sunderland

Ross Pearson is the sort of guy who prefers to do his talking with his fists and feet. A self-proclaimed ‘quiet lad’, Pearson makes one hell of a noise inside the cage. A standout of the Sunderland Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Club, Pearson is a 9-3 lightweight with boundless potential.

A lifelong fan of the UFC, Pearson has always enjoyed the fighting arts. He previously dabbled in taekwondo, judo and boxing. Despite enrolling at college to become a bricklayer, Pearson always believed his fighting dreams would one day come to fruition.

Pearson now appears on the way to fulfilling those dreams. Since turning pro in December 2004, ‘The Real Deal’ has lived up to both his name and expectations. Finishing most of his fights within the first round, Pearson fights at a frantic and unrelenting pace that most fighters struggle to keep up with. Always learning and always improving, the 24-year-old from the North-East appears destined for big things.

Road To The Finals:
Episode 7 – Defeated Richie Whitson via armbar
Episode 12 – Defeated Jason Dent via decision

ANDRE WINNER – TEAM UK
Age: 26
MMA record: 9-2-1
Fighting out of: Nottingham, England
Gym: Rough House, Nottingham

A competitive sportsman who had excelled in soccer and athletics at school, Winner decided to combine his natural athleticism with his love of combat sports and walked into the Rough House gym in Nottingham, England several years ago. Seeing a bag and mitts session alongside emerging UFC superstar Dan ‘the Outlaw’ Hardy convinced winner that, finally, he had found the sport he was destined to dominate. A confident striker who believes he will one day challenge for World Title honors, Winner originally tried out for Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but did not make the cut. He returned to audition for TUF 9 a vastly more rounded fighter with some of the most razor sharp ground and pound skills of any UK fighter.

Road To The Finals:
Episode 5 – Defeated Santino DeFranco via TKO
Episode 11 – Defeated Cameron Dollar via triangle choke

WELTERWEIGHTS

DAMARQUES JOHNSON – TEAM US
Age: 26
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Trains: Salt Lake City, UT with Elite Performance
MMA record: 13-6

Born and raised in Utah, DaMarques Johnson shied away from high school sports during his years at Kearns High School. It wasn’t until 2001, after he enlisted in the army, that he saw his athletic potential. After easily defeating several fellow soldiers during a sparring session, he was defeated by a much smaller foe. It was that loss that peaked Johnson’s interest in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He immediately picked up the sport and after serving eight years active duty, including a stint monitoring the illegal drug trade in Colombia, Johnson returned to Utah and began training full-time in mixed martial arts.

A member of Elite Performance with UFC veteran Jeremy Horn, the 26-year old Johnson owns a 13-6 mixed martial arts record.

Road To The Finals:
Episode 5 – Defeated Dean Amasinger via triangle choke
Episode 10 – Defeated Nick Osipczak via decision

JAMES WILKS – TEAM UK
Age: 30
MMA record: 5-2
Division: Welterweight
Fighting out of: Orange County, California, USA
Gym: Orange County Jiu-Jitsu

Nobody was more surprised at the talent level in Team UK than California-based Brit James Wilks. A student of Erik Paulsen’s Orange County Jiu-Jitsu gym, Wilks fled to the United States in 2000 after graduating from Bournemouth University with a degree in business and management. Originally looking to pursue self-defence training for a mere six months, Wilks fell in love with life in The O.C and the rest is now history.

Wilks has since been transformed into a 5-2 mixed martial arts and a thorough student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the past nine years. Though fiercely proud of his English heritage, this is one competitor who has been created and molded by his stint in the USA. A unique concoction of British pride and American techniques, Wilks boasts a skill set that was originally the talk of all his Team UK counterparts.

However, upon spending time with his teammates and discovering the talent bar was set higher than even he expected, Wilks came to the realization that, despite his love of all things American, his choice to represent his home nation was the right one.

Road To The Finals:
Episode 6 – Defeated Frank Lester by submission
Episode 12 – Defeated Frank Lester via TKO

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