The UFC has confirmed that they have added three stellar bouts to their UFC 92 card on December 27th. As has been reported for months, the two coaches on this season’s “The Ultimate Fighter” will be squaring off, with former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir challenging interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Another bout added by the organization is a pivotal light heavyweight match-up between former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson taking on his former PrideFC foe Wanderlei Silva. The winner of that bout could place themselves in a great position to challenge for a title. Which leads us to the third addition to the card, current 205-pound champion Forrest Griffin will be making his first ever title defense against Rashad Evans.
This will be Rampage’s first bout since he lost his title to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86, and since he led Costa Mesa Police on a hit and run chase in July that ended with him being pulled over at gun point. Rampage has since pleaded not guilty to those charges, even though he was the sole occupant of the truck, which had an image of the former champion on its side door.
Silva is coming off of the most important victory of his career, having knocked out Keith Jardine in the 1stRound at UFC 84. He had lost his previous three bouts and admitted that suffering a fourth consecutive loss would have had him contemplating retirement.
Many MMA enthusiasts might be wondering why a third bout between the two would be necessary considering Silva has already posted two dominating victories over Rampage. However, considering their current standings within the UFC’s deepest division, this is an important fight for both fighters with title shot implications on the line, regardless of their history together.
Both Griffin and Evans are coming off of the biggest wins in their young MMA careers. Evans stunned the MMA world when he defeated former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell via knockout at UFC 88 just last month. That night he proved to all that even though he was an All-American wrestler at Michigan State University, he has now transformed himself into a true Mixed Martial Artist.
Griffin defeated the aforementioned Jackson for his title at UFC 86. He pulled off a close, and controversial, unanimous decision to take away the most coveted crown in all of MMA. He is the most successful fighter to have ever won “TUF” reality show, posting a 7-2 UFC record, and most importantly, is the show’s only champion to date.
After a very successful career in Japan, Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Tim Sylvia to become the UFC’s interim champion at UFC 81 in February. He is currently 2-0 in the UFC, and holds an even more impressive 34-4-1 overall record (based on Sherdog.com).
Mir will be continuing his roller coaster comeback attempt, as the the former champion is trying to regain his pre-motorcycle accident form. At UFC 48 in 2004, Mir defeated Tim Sylvia to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion, however soon after he was involved in a motorcycle accident that almost cost him not only his career, but his life. It was a long road to recovery for for him and he was out of action for nearly two years, but he has posted a respectable 3-2 record since that Sylvia fight.
The winner of that heavyweight showdown will face the winner of the Brock Lesnar vs Randy Couture bout at UFC 91 in November, so the UFC can once again unify the title. Couture initially resigned from his post as champion last October, leaving the title vacant for Rodrigo Nogueira to capture. With Couture’s recent decision to return to the Octagon, the UFC decided that both he and Nogueira will be champions of some form.