On Saturday 21st February the UFC makes a welcome return to British soil for UFC 95 when the hard-hitting action will take place in London underneath the giant tent formerly known as the Millennium Dome, more recently known as the 02 Arena. For those in the United States this fight show is available free on Spike TV or part of your subscription package to Setanta Sports here in the United Kingdom. Fortunately as it airs live from England there is no need to set your alarm clock for stupid o”clock or try staying awake despite a night on the booze as UFC 95 on Setanta Sports 1 starts at the godly hour of 8pm!
UFC 95 features two homegrown fight heroes for us Brits to cheer on, but no Michael Bisping this time but two up and coming English fighters signed to the UFC – Dan Hardy and Liverpudlian Terry Etim. Both English mixed martial artists are enjoying some attention on TV appearing on Setanta News” Ultimate Talk as well as featuring in the Daily Star. The line-up is not quite as huge match-up wise compared to the recent offerings from Dana and co at the UFC, but we have been spoiled GSP versus Penn II and Couture versus Lesnar. With many Brits getting in the Octagon, this event is a good opportunity to see some of the fighters who may appear on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter as members of Team Britain captained by Captain Britain himself Michael “The Count Bisping as the opposition to Team USA that will of course be led by Dan Henderson. It is worth noting that although Brit Dan Hardy is in the co main event on the London event the videos promoting UFC 95 are hyping up Nate Marquardt against Wilson Gouveia along with Sanchez versus Stevenson ignoring the Hardy and Markham bout which is listed as the co main event. Presumably this is due to Hardy being a little known name in the wider world of the UFC and North America. So this makes me wonder if Bisping against Henderson will take place in the UK or the USA? Bisping is a bigger name with the fans over on this side of the pond and the UFC has really taken off in Britain so it would be awesome if they booked a stadium size venue for that clash later in the year. Back to Saturday night”s big show. While Dan Hardy is second from top Liverpudlian Terry Etim a fighter who learnt his trade pre UFC for Cage Rage here in the UK has yet to prove himself in the eyes of the UFC so bolsters up the preliminary card.
Dan Hardy vs. Rory Markham
Dan Hardy makes up the second half of the co-main event slot as he does battle with American Rory Markham. For the punk-haired Hardy it be just his second time in the UFC Octagon despite the Nottingham based combatant having an MMA fight record of 20 – 6. Pre UFC Hardy cut his teeth in the Cage Warriors promotion where he previously held Light Heavyweight and Welter Weight belts. In his last UFC Octagon outing Hardy beat Gono and Dan aims to impress once again by beating Rory Markham in a stand up war, which is Hardy”s strong point. I am hoping for home ground hero Hardy to win this one by round two.
Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson
Just above Hardy versus Markham we will see Diego Sanchez pitted against Joe “Daddy” Stevenson fighting in the lightweight division. Diego Sanchez down from 170 to 155, brings extra power as a
Lightweight fighter. 15lb drop is a big drop in weight so it will be interesting to see if he will be on top form or a disadvantage.
Nate Marquardt vs. Wilson Gouveia
Nate Marquardt is one of the top guys under Anderson Silva within the middleweight bracket.
Wilson Gouveia only lost one fight in past 2 years and is a submission specialist. So we have two tough guys looking to prove themselves here as they work their way up the Middleweight rankings of the UFC.
Here is the full card:
- Lightweight bout: Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson
- Welterweight bout: Dan Hardy vs. Rory Markham
- Middleweight bout: Nate Marquardt vs. Wilson Gouveia
- Middleweight bout: Demian Maia vs. Chael Sonnen
- Welterweight bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Paulo Thiago
- Lightweight bout: Brian Cobb vs. Terry Etim
- Heavyweight bout: Junior dos Santos vs. Stefan Struve
- Heavyweight bout: Mike Ciesnolevicz vs. Neil Grove
- Lightweight bout: Per Eklund vs. Evan Dunham
- Welterweight bout: Troy Mandaloniz vs. Paul Kelly
After reading this check out this link to view the UFC 95 video on the official UFC youtube.com channel.