The UFC is back on Versus, as they present “UFC Live” in Louisville, Ky. on Thursday, March 3. The main card will be broadcast live on Versus at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
In addition to the main event welterweight fight pitting Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez against Martin “Hitman” Kampmann and the middleweight clash between Mark Munoz and CB Dollaway, UFC officials confirmed nine additional bouts set to take place in the Bluegrass State.
The remaining bouts include: Alessio Sakara vs. Chris Weidman, Brian Bowles vs. Damacio Page, Joe Stevenson vs. Danny Castillo, Steve Cantwell vs. Cyrille Diabate, Thiago Tavares vs. Shane Roller, Takeya Mizugaki vs. Reuben Duran, Rob Kimmons vs. Dongi Yang, Rousimar Palhares vs. Dave Branch and Igor Pokrajac vs. Todd Brown.
A winner of three straight, middleweight Alessio Sakara (19-7, 1 NC) looks to keep his streak alive in Louisville. With four of his last five victories coming by knockout, “Legionarius” is sure to display his boxing prowess in an attempt to secure another Knockout of the Night award. Standing in his way is New York native and UFC newcomer, Chris Weidman (4-0). A two-time All-American wrestler at Hofstra University who trains under former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra, Weidman has finished opponents by both submission and TKO, and is seeking a dominant debut performance to make a statement in the Octagon.
Former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles (8-1) makes his UFC debut with his sights set on reclaiming the 135-pound crown. The Hardcore Gym product will look to use his heavy hands and slick submissions to best his free-swinging opponent on March 3. Equally hungry to fuel a title run, Damacio Page (12-5) is as motivated as ever and ready to make a statement. “The Angel of Death,” who gets a shot to avenge his 2008 defeat at the hands of Bowles, expects nothing less than a standup war in Kentucky.
A three-time Fight of the Night winner and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Joe Stevenson (36-12) is a former number one contender for the UFC lightweight championship and winner of season two of The Ultimate Fighter. On March 3, he steps inside the Octagon for the 15th time to take on hard-hiting lightweight Danny Castillo (8-3). “Last Call” joins UFC after a successful run in the WEC. The former collegiate wrestler, who trains alongside UFC bantamweight star Urijah Faber in California, hopes to keep the momentum rolling when he meets “Joe Daddy.”
A former WEC light heavyweight champion, Steve Cantwell (7-3) is looking to have the same success in the UFC. Nicknamed the “Robot”, Cantwell hits the UFC Octagon for the fourth time on March 3. His opponent is dangerous 6’ 6” striker Cyrille Diabate (17-7-3), who expects to use his lethal array of knees and combination punching en route to victory in Louisville.
Having debuted with the UFC in April 2007, Thiago Tavares (19-3-1) has strung together several impressive fights, including three Fight of the Night performances. Coming off of a recent win over Pat Audinwood at UFC 119, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt looks to join the lightweight elite by besting three-time Division I All-American collegiate wrestler Shane Roller (9-3). The former WEC lightweight and two-time Submission of the Night winner has been victorious in six of his last eight bouts and is hoping that his UFC debut will be one to remember.
Takeya Mizugaki (13-5-2) is an exciting striker who continually put on entertaining bouts in the WEC’s bantamweight division. Having headlined two WEC cards, including one in which he fought for the bantamweight title, Mizugaki is planning to introduce himself to UFC fans in dramatic fashion when he takes on Reuben Duran (7-2-1). The Pinnacle Jiu Jitsu fighter, who is unbeaten since 2006, is looking to make a statement in his UFC debut and will undoubtedly get that chance against one of the division’s top contenders.
Fighting inside the Octagon for the seventh time overall, Rob Kimmons (23-6) has found huge success with his submission game. “The Rosedale Reaper” has twice finished opponents with a guillotine choke, with one of those netting him a Submission of the Night award. He’ll take on South Korean-born Dongi Yang (9-1) in an exciting middleweight battle. “The Ox”, known for his aggressive fighting style, will look to defeat his opponent with his heavy hands, and secure his place in this competitive division.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Rousimar Palhares (20-3) has won four of his six bouts in the UFC, and his impressive submission game has helped him get there. On March 3, “Toquinho” looks to add another talented name to his resume when he meets Dave Branch (8-1). Born in the Bronx, the Renzo Gracie-trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has won his last two fights inside the Octagon and is hoping to make it three in a row in Kentucky.
Light heavyweight Igor Pokrajac (22-8) has shown that he can be successful wherever the fight goes. The Croatian-born training partner of UFC heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop submitted James Irvin on the last UFC on Versus card, and has engaged in close battles with Vladimir Matyushenko and Stephan Bonnar. Todd Brown (15-1, 1 NC) will likely play the part of the hometown favorite as he was born in nearby Mishawaka, Indiana. “Bulldog” looks to use his superior striking to garner his first UFC victory.
UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann takes place this Thursday, March 3, 2011, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. As always, FightLine.com will provide live coverage of the event.