AS noted earlier this week, the UFC announced their return to Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday, March 19 with the long-awaited title fight between UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and former champion “Suga” Rashad Evans for UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans.
“This is the light heavyweight title fight that everyone has been waiting to see,” UFC President Dana White said. “Shogun has been on an absolute tear and proved that by knocking out Lyoto Machida to take the belt. Now he faces Rashad Evans, who is coming off back-to-back wins over Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson and has never been hungrier to reclaim the title. With the main event and the other fights we’re putting together, we’re bringing another awesome card to New Jersey and I’m excited to get back to the East Coast.”
One of the sport’s most feared strikers, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-4) claimed the UFC light heavyweight crown by becoming the first man to ever defeat Lyoto Machida last May. Known for his outstanding Muay Thai and slick jiu jitsu, the 29-year-old also owns wins over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman, Quinton Jackson and Alistair Overeem.
Rua will defend the title against Rashad Evans (20-1-1), the former UFC light heavyweight champion who has scored victories over the likes of Liddell, Jackson, Forrest Griffin and Michael Bisping in his career. A standout collegiate wrestler and winner of season two of The Ultimate Fighter, the 31-year-old Evans seeks his second reign as UFC champion by knocking off Rua in New Jersey.
A bantamweight clash between former WEC champions “The California Kid” Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland will also be featured at UFC 128. Faber is considered one of the most dominant fighters in the history of the lighter weight classes, and once held the featherweight title for over two years. With a submission win over Takeya Mizugaki in his bantamweight debut in November, the 31-year-old has his sights set on Wineland, a former WEC bantamweight champion boasting four consecutive wins, including back-to-back Knockout of the Night victories.
One of the most popular fighters in the history of the lighter weight classes makes his UFC debut on March 19. Former WEC featherweight champion “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (24-4) brings his high-energy assault to the Octagon when he battles former WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland (fighting out of Chesterton, Ind./18-6-1) in 135-pound action.
Wineland, the first-ever WEC bantamweight champion, has strung together consecutive wins over Manny Tapia, George Roop, Will Campuzano and Ken Stone, and believes a win over Faber will secure him a date with current champion Dominick Cruz.