The UFC has given the sports-loving demographic yet another reason to be glued to a big screen TV on Superbowl weekend in the form of UFC 126. Lightweight “Hands of Stone” Sam Stout (16-6-1) vs. Britain’s Paul Kelly (11-3) has just been added to the card already featuring the long awaited UFC Middleweight Championship battle between current champ “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) and “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort, as well as allegedly offering fan favorite Forrest Griffin (17-6) taking on “Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5), light heavyweight title contenders “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-0) and “Bones” Jon Jones (11-1), Antonio Banuelos (18-6) facing former WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres (37-3), and Jake Ellenberger (22-5) vs. Jon Fitch (22-3)*. The event will air live from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5.
Canadian Sam Stout has had mixed success in the Octagon since his UFC debut in March 2006. The 26-year-old has never been able to muster up more than two consecutive wins in the promotion and holds a 5-5 UFC record, all of which came via decision. Despite a reputation for going the distance and not finishing his UFC opponents, Stout is known for his exciting performances, as evident by the lightweight’s several “Fight of the Night” bonuses. The aptly-named “Hands of Stone” is renowned for his punishing hands, speedy and accurate striking, and exceptional cardio. He has been victorious in three out of his last four fights – most recently in a razor thin Split Decision over Paul Kelly’s teammate “Relentless” Paul Taylor (10-7-1) at last month’s UFC 121. Stout’s MMA record outside of the UFC is 11-1-1 including an eight-fight win streak in the Canadian promotion TKO.
Paul Kelly began his MMA career as a middleweight before dropping down to welterweight and finally arriving at lightweight at UFC 99 in June 2009. Much like Stout, the Brit has had mixed success in the UFC, earning a 5-3 record in the promotion. The first time Kelly ever faced the judges was at his UFC debut in January 2008; previously, he was undefeated with a 6-0 record, winning them all via TKO or choke. Eight of Kelly’s 11 total professional victories have come by way of stoppage. Last weekend at UFC 123, Kelly TKO’d opponent TJ O’Brien (16-4) in the second round, marking his third win in the 155lb. division.
*Update: The UFC has supposedly scrapped this match, in favor of Fitch potentially facing “The Prodigy” BJ Penn at UFC 127 on February 27.