The UFC confirmed the remaining bouts for UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin earlier today. The event, which will consolidate the heavyweight titles held by Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, will also feature the following matchups on the undercard: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Wanderlei Silva, Matt Brown vs. Chris Lytle, Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski, Kurt Pellegrino vs. George Sotiropoulous, Chris Tuchscherer vs. Brendan Schaub, Goran Reljic vs. Kendall Grove, Ricardo Romero vs. Seth Petruzelli, Dave Branch vs. Gerald Harris, Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz and Karlos Vemola vs. Jon Madsen.
After a spectacular UFC debut a year ago, Yoshihiro Akiyama is set to make his long-awaited return to the Octagon. In his first fight, Akiyama won a split decision over Alan Belcher, while also taking home “Fight of the Night” honors in the middleweight contest. Throughout his mixed martial arts career, Akiyama has been known for his submissions and knockout power. While Akiyama is a relative newcomer to the UFC, his opponent Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is a veteran of the sport and a legend to his fan base. Having fought in 45 matches, Silva has defeated some of the most notable names in MMA such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Silva is known for his power, as 23 of his 33 victories have come by way of knockout.
Featured in the “swing” bout of UFC 116, Matt “The Immortal” Brown has been victorious in three of his last four fights, including a TKO of James Wilks. Brown has excelled in his striking ability and conditioning, however his tenacity will be tested when he battles Chris “Lights Out” Lytle. Lytle, a former professional boxer and a very experienced welterweight, is coming off two consecutive wins over Kevin Burns and Brian Foster. This fight should be very entertaining as both fighters do not fear exchanging blows for three rounds.
In a highly anticipated light heavyweight rematch, “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar looks to avenge his TKO loss at UFC 110, which came due to a cut. Bonnar has been a highly recognized fighter in the UFC since 2005 after his battle with Forrest Griffin in the finale of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. This fight is important for Bonnar to gain some much needed momentum. Krzysztof “The Polish Experiement” Soszynski is not only coming off the victory over Bonnar, but he has also won four of his five fights in the UFC. Not only does he possess the power that he displayed against Bonnar, but he also has an impressive set of submission skills, as two of his four UFC victories have come by way of arm-lock submissions.
Riding a four fight win streak that dates back to September of 2008, Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino has been a very successful fighter in the UFC. Pellegrino’s background in wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu have enabled him to become a highly technical fighter, with four of his seven UFC wins coming by way of submission. His opponent George Sotiropoulos has also proved to be an Octagon standout, as he has defeated all five opponents he has faced. Making his debut at The Ultimate Fighter Finale 6, The Australian-born lightweight has shown to be a well-rounded fighter who can win through striking or submissions.
Chris “The Crowbar” Tuchscherer has been able to translate a successful collegiate wrestling background into an impressive MMA record. A two-time Division II All-American and current training partner to UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, Tuchscherer is coming off a victory over Tim Hague at UFC 109. With only two fights under his belt in the UFC, Tuchscherer hopes a win over the up-and-coming Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub could be a stepping stone to future successes. In his short career, Schaub has impressed many after being the runner-up on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Schaub is coming off a TKO of Chase Gormley, who he defeated in just 47 seconds. This fight between these two prospects will be an intriguing heavyweight matchup.
After an intense battle with CB Dollaway at UFC 110, Goran Reljic is up against another tough fighter at UFC 116. Reljic has an impressive overall record, with two bouts in the UFC. The Croatian fighter is a counter striker, with knockout power from his hands and feet, which is a dangerous combination for his opponent Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove. At 6-foot-6, Grove has a reach that makes him a tough matchup for most middleweights. The veteran Hawaiian fighter has shown to be well-rounded, as his last three wins have come from three different methods (decision, TKO, submission).
Ricardo Romero will be making his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at UFC 116 in an attempt to take his MMA career to another level. Romero has accumulated 10 wins in his career and has shown he is not fond of leaving his fate in the hands of the judges, as nine of those wins have come by way of knockout or submission. “The Silverback” Seth Petruzelli is a training partner of UFC veteran Tom Lawlor and makes his return back to the UFC. With a notable win over Kimbo Slice, Petruzelli’s first fight back has garnered plenty of buzz among fight fans.
Another fighter making his UFC debut is Dave Branch, who is undefeated in his short MMA career. He has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a member of the Renzo Gracie fight team. His opponent Gerald “Hurricane” Harris has a wrestling background and uses powerful slams. Harris has defeated his last two opponents by TKO, most recently taking down Mario Miranda at UFC Fight Night in March.
Daniel “Ninja” Roberts is a very athletic fighter who is a former college wrestler. He has combined his wrestling background with jiu-jitsu to post an impressive record, with most of his victories coming via submission. Now the Oklahoma product looks to get his 10th professional win against a very experienced opponent. Forrest Petz will be making his return to the UFC. “The Meat Cleaver” has won five out of seven fights since 2007 and the Cleveland native looks to continue his winning ways back in the UFC.
With only seven professional fights under his belt, Karlos “The Terminator” Vemola is not only a newcomer to the UFC, but also to the sport itself. Vemola has won all of his fights in his career, with three by knockout and four by submission. Jon Madsen is another fighter who is undefeated through his short career. A former Division II National wrestling champion, Madsen has two victories in the UFC, most recently a unanimous decision win over Mostapha Al Turk at UFC 112.
UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin takes place on Saturday, July 3rd from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. FightLine.com will be providing live coverage of the event.