The UFC confirmed today that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will face number one contender Junior dos Santos as The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos coaches collide at UFC 131: Lesnar vs. Dos Santos, live from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday, June 11.
“Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos are two of the most explosive heavyweights in the game, and I give both of them a lot of respect for taking this fight,” UFC President Dana White said. “Brock wanted the quickest way back to a title shot, and he’s willing to go through dos Santos to do it. Junior could have waited around for his shot at the belt, but as a true fighter he didn’t want to sit around, and now he faces one of the toughest guys in the game. This is going to be one of the biggest heavyweight fights in years, and it’s guaranteed to be all-action from start to finish.”
The most polarizing figure in all of mixed martial arts, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) came onto the scene and earned the title in his third UFC fight with a dominating victory over legend and UFC Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture at UFC 91. A 2000 NCAA Division I national champion wrestler at the University of Minnesota, the 33-year-old has parlayed an impressive amateur wrestling career into a successful mixed martial arts one. With stoppage wins over Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin, Lesnar is dangerous for any opponent and is focused on earning the UFC heavyweight title once again.
With a perfect 6-0 record in the UFC, Junior dos Santos (12-1) finished his first five fights against names such as Mirko Cro Cop, Gabriel Gonzaga, Gilbert Yvel, Stefan Struve and Fabricio Werdum. The 27-year-old rising star has one of the top striking games in the heavyweight division and showed his ability to go into deep water with his three-round unanimous decision victory against seasoned vet Roy “Big Country” Nelson in his last match at UFC 117.
In addition to the main event, four other highly-anticipated matches will be featured on the main card as UFC heavyweight title contender Shane Carwin looks to jump right back in the title hunt when he faces dangerous ground fighter Jon Olav Einemo. Coming off his head-turning submission victory over Paul Kelly, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on UFC vet Mac Danzig. Then submission specialist Demian Maia meets middleweight contender Mark Munoz, and crowd favorite Kenny Florian makes his featherweight debut against red-hot Diego Nunes.
A fighter that was moments away from earning the UFC heavyweight title, Shane Carwin (12-1) took Lesnar to the brink of defeat in their epic UFC 116 battle before the then-champion was able to turn the tide back in his favor. The Lesnar fight marked the first time Carwin, a former college wrestler and football player, had ever been out of the first round, a streak that included stoppages over Frank Mir, Gabriel Gonzaga, Neil Wain and Christian Wellisch. But now the 36-year-old engineer looks to get back into the title picture with a win over the experienced Jon Olav Einemo.
A fighter that is making his UFC debut against a tough, seasoned opponent, submission grappling ace Jon Olav Einemo (6-1) is a PRIDE veteran and a very dangerous ground fighter that holds five of his six wins by submission. A 2003 champion in the esteemed Abu Dhabi world submission fighting championships, Einemo, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, is the only person to ever defeat ADCC legend Roger Gracie and now looks to parlay his grappling success into a memorable UFC career.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (14-3-0, 1 NC) returns to the Octagon in search of his second straight UFC win. A fighter that can put opponents away with his impressive kick boxing or his relentless jiu-jitsu, the 28-year-old Denver, Colorado native put together a solid resume in the WEC with wins over Chris Horodecki, Jamie Varner, Ed Ratcliff, James Krause, Rob McCollough and Danny Castillo – and with a second-round submission over Paul Kelly in his UFC debut, the lightweight division better take notice because “Cowboy” just rode into town.
A veteran of 30 professional fights, Mac Danzig (21-8-1) is a 31-year-old veteran that is now just hitting his stride. Coming off an impressive first-round stoppage over one-time UFC lightweight title contender Joe Stevenson at UFC 124 in Montreal, the Cleveland, Ohio native and proud vegan will be fighting for the third consecutive time in Canada and is becoming a crowd favorite north of the border. With four wins in the UFC, Danzig knows what it takes to succeed under the bright lights.
One of the most decorated grapplers in the UFC, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Demian Maia (14-2) has five submission victories in the UFC over fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry, Jason MacDonald, Ed Herman and Ryan Jensen. The two-time world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu has won three out of his last four fights with his only loss coming to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Another former NCAA Division I national champion wrestler turned successful mixed martial artist, Mark Munoz (10-2) is riding a two-fight win streak, including a unanimous decision victory over Aaron Simpson and a first-round knockout over Simpson’s Arizona State friend and training partner CB Dollaway. A winner of five out of his last six fights, the versatile Munoz is dangerous on the ground and on his feet and is looking to burst into the title picture with a win against Maia.
Former lightweight title contender Kenny Florian (15-5) will be making his debut at featherweight in Vancouver and could become an instant contender in a division that features unstoppable champion Jose Aldo. With victories over some of the biggest names in the 155-pound division, including Takanori Gomi, Clay Guida, Joe Lauzon, Din Thomas, Joe Stevenson and Roger Huerta, the Boston-area jiu-jitsu black belt will be one to look out for at his new home at 145-pounds.
Ready to welcome Florian into the 145-pound division, Diego Nunes (16-1) won four out of his five fights in the WEC and defeated former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown in his UFC debut in January. A Southern Brazil Muay Thai and boxing champion, Nunes plans to use his elite striking to get past Florian on June 11 and fuel a run toward UFC gold.
Tickets for UFC 131: Lesnar vs. Dos Santos are priced at $650, $450, $325, $225, $135 and $85, not including applicable service charges, and go on sale Saturday, April 16 at 10 a.m. PT at the Rogers Arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets or at ticketmaster.ca. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (855) 985-5000.