In front of a sold out crowd of 55,000, ten men plan to make the Octagon their stomping ground as UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In the main event, welterweight champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) puts his title on the line against former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields (26-4-1) who is currently on a six-year, 15-fight winning streak. “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) hopes to end his seasoned career with a superb performance when he challenges former light heavyweight champ “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2). In another 205lbs. affair, goliaths “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5) and “The Hitman” Jason Brilz (18-3-1) step into the cage, and former WEC 155lbs. king “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-2) makes his UFC debut against Jiu-Jitsu stand-out Mark Bocek (9-3). In the co-main event, the hometown favorite “The Machine” Mark Hominick (19-7) welcomes “Junior” José Aldo (17-1) with every intention of taking his newly acquired UFC featherweight title. While both Hominick and Aldo have the ability to bring fights to a screeching halt, putting a championship up for grabs guarantees that both men will go tooth-and-nail to ensure that title goes home with them.
This afternoon, Chicago-based MMA promotion Bellator Fighting Championship (BFC or Bellator) announced that it signed seven-time UFC veteran and The Ultimate Fighter 6 alum “Killa B” Ben Saunders (9-3-2) to its already shark infested welterweight roster. Saunders will not take part in the upcoming Bellator Welterweight Tournament, but he will make his debut with the promotion sometime during Season 4, which begins March 4. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said of the acquisition, “Ben Saunders is an exciting, powerful welterweight with explosive knockout power. Ben’s dangerous and always shows up to fight. I’m excited to see his first fight under the Bellator banner…”
This week on MMA Gospel Radio, host Gary Friedman was joined by a guest co-host, the always entertaining Spilled Bag of Ice. The pair started the broadcast with a discussion of the UFC Fight for the Troops 2 card from last Saturday. Topics included Cole Miller (13-5) and Evan Dunham (10-2) and whether or not the pair were overrated prior to their losses to Matt Wiman (17-5) and “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (26-8-2), respectively. Also on the table was a discussion of the impressive performance of “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (4-0) and his over-the-top personality and showmanship. Of course, his “Meatstache” was mentioned, as well.
In another of its events centered around the support for the U.S. Military, the UFC brings the men and women in uniform at Fort Hood Military Base its most recent effort with UFC Fight for the Troops 2. The card features several rising stars including “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2) who is on a quest to continue his rebirth as a UFC standout, top prospect Evan Dunham (10-1) who looks to improve on his 4-1 UFC record, The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 contestant Matt Mitrione (3-0) who continues to build his name as a heavyweight, and another TUF alum in “The Deadliest Catch” Cody McKenzie (12-0) who looks to remain undefeated at the expense of yet another UFC lightweight. All of these men are talents that the UFC seems to have a vested interest in cultivating; win, lose, or draw chances are, they aren’t going anywhere. However, for several fighters on this card, Fight for the Troops could be more aptly named Fight for Your Job. The UFC has been leaving pink slips in the lockers of the most unexpected fighters for several months now to make room for the influx of new talent from the WEC which has many fighters wondering if they’re next.