by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Thursday announced that signing of sought after light heavyweight Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. He will make his Octagon debut on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas against undefeated fighter Lyoto Machida.
“Sokoudjou is an explosive athlete with heavy hands and great judo who is coming off huge back-to-back knockout wins over two top ten guys in Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira,” said UFC president Dana White. “Bringing him in just makes the stacked 205-pound division even stronger, and there are endless great match-ups for him here in the UFC.”
Sokoudjou had been the subject of much speculation as he was reportedly a signature away from consummating a deal with ProElite, Inc. several months ago. More recently, his representatives had been in deep negotiations with K-1 and had expected him to be headed to Japan.
With Sokoudjou’s big knockout wins and Machida’s 11-0 record (including three UFC bouts), the UFC 79 bout is not without title implications. It is quite likely that the winner will catapult themselves to the head of the line in the light heavyweight division.
Said Machida of the fight, “I know Sokoudjou doesn’t have a lot of fights, but the fights he’s had are big, and he has beaten some very big names in this sport. I think this is going to be a great fight, and I am looking forward to winning this fight, and to moving on and fighting for the UFC title.”