With a main event featuring former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir pitted against mixed martial arts legend Mirko Cro Cop, a co-main event with light heavyweight rising star Ryan Bader taking on Rogerio Nogueira and a rematch between former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and Indianapolis native Chris Lytle, the UFC confirms the remaining bouts for UFC 119: Mir vs Cro Cop on September 25th at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bolstering the UFC’s first-ever card in Indianapolis, UFC 119 features Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham, Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens, CB Dollaway vs. Joe Doerksen, Matt Mitrione vs. Joey Beltran, Thiago Tavares vs. Pat Audinwood, Steve Lopez vs. Waylon Lowe, TJ Grant vs. Julio Paulino and Mark Hunt vs. Sean McCorkle.
A former UFC lightweight champion, Sean Sherk (37-4-1) has been in there with the best the UFC has to offer, including Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes and BJ Penn. The Minneapolis wrestler is looking to get back to the form that saw him earn the 155-pound strap with a decision win over Kenny Florian back in 2006, but first he’ll need to take on impressive 28-year-old lightweight Evan Dunham (11-0). The undefeated native Oregonian has dazzled with wins over Tyson Griffin and Efrain Escudero and looks forward to the biggest test of his young career.
In what is sure to be a candidate for Fight of the Night, two of the UFC’s young guns with a wealth of experience between them will be popping off as Melvin Guillard (43-9-3, 1 NC) faces Jeremy Stephens (18-5). Guillard has brought his game full circle since joining Greg Jackson’s team, defeating decorated grapplers Gleison Tibau and Ronys Torres, but the explosive 27-year-old showed fans that he can still strike with a devastating KO victory over Waylon Lowe. The 24-year-old Stephens has brought a well-balanced attack to the Octagon as well. With wins already over Justin Buchholz and lightweight standout Sam Stout, a win for Stephens could propel the lightweight to great heights.
Coming off an impressive win at UFC 110 against Goran Reljic, CB Dollaway (11-3) has parlayed a very successful wrestling career at Arizona State into what is becoming a blossoming mixed martial arts career. But now the 27-year-old will need to summon all his skills when he takes on wily veteran Joe Doerksen (45-12). On a seven-fight win streak, including five finishes, the 32-year-old middleweight turned heads with his second-round submission victory against Tom Lawlor in his last fight. Now the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt takes on the hungry up-and-comer in Dollaway.
A former NFL lineman, Matt Mitrione (2-0) also played football at Purdue and is sure to have the “home-cage advantage” when the bell rings in Indianapolis. Already fighting like a seasoned professional, Mitrione owns wins over Marcus Jones and Kimbo Slice, and he now faces his greatest challenge in the “Mexecutioner”. Joey Beltran (12-3) was originally called in as a late replacement against Rolles Gracie earlier this year but looked anything like it, earning the stoppage victory and then going on to defeat Tim Hague for his second UFC victory.
In a battle between two expert grapplers, Thiago Tavares (18-3-1) looks to welcome Pat “Awesomely Awesome” Audinwood (9-0-1) to the UFC as the New Yorker makes his debut. A veteran of the UFC since 2007, Tavares has had his ups and downs in the organization, including a slick triangle victory against Jason Black, but now Tavares plans to use his Octagon experience against Audinwood. An undefeated 24-year-old with a few triangle victories on his ledger as well, Audinwood looks to live up to his nickname and impress in his UFC debut.
Another fighter that should have the crowd in his corner at UFC 119, Indiana lightweight Steve Lopez (12-2), looks to get his first UFC victory against another college wrestler in three-time Division II national champion Waylon Lowe (8-3). The 29-year-old Lowe has the wrestling credentials, but like Lopez, likes to stand and trade.
With a solid run in the UFC so far, including a stoppage victory against Kevin Burns and a decision win against Ryo Chonan, TJ Grant 15-4) has proved that he belongs in the UFC’s welterweight division. A U.S. Navy veteran, Julio Paulino (18-3) doesn’t look for the decision. The New Jersey native has won 10 fights by KO/TKO and six via submission and now looks to register his first UFC victory.
A K-1 kickboxing and PRIDE veteran, Mark Hunt (5-6) makes his long-awaited UFC debut in Indianapolis. The 34-year-old has been in there with some of the best fighters in the game, including Wanderlei Silva and Cro Cop and he now makes it to the main stage against Sean “Big Sexy” McCorkle (9-0). With a perfect 9-0 record, with only one fight going to decision, the 6-foot-7, 265-pound McCorkle plans to please his hometown fans in his UFC debut.