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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

UFC 128 official for March 19 in New Jersey with Rua vs. Evans, Faber vs. Wineland

UFC 128 official for March 19 in New Jersey with Rua vs. Evans, Faber vs. Wineland





As expected, the world largest mixed martial arts promotion heads to the Garden State on March 19 for "UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans."



Featuring a long-awated light heavyweight title clash between current champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and former title holder Rashad Evans, UFC 128 takes place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.



"This is the light heavyweight title fight that everyone has been waiting to see," UFC president Dana White stated in today's official release. "'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."



Rua (19-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC), a longtime star with the now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships, is 3-1 since his promotional-debut loss to Forrest Griffin. The lone defeat came to Lyoto Machida in their first meeting, and many in the industry panned the unanimous decision and felt Rua won the fight. Seven months later in the rematch, he needed less than a round to score a knockout and win the belt from his fellow Brazilian.



Evans (15-1-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC) earned another shot at the title with a May win over rival Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the main event of UFC 114. Although he said he'd be open to an interim-title fight if Rua were to experience a lengthy layoff while recovering from knee surgery, he later said he'd prefer to wait for the champion. Evans, who also has defeated Thiago Silva since losing his belt, will have a yearlong layoff while waiting for his shot to reclaim the title.



In addition to the main event, UFC brass also officially announced the previously reported clash between former WEC champions Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland.



The bantamweight bout marks the UFC debut of Faber (24-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Wineland (18-6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who were both victorious in their final obligations to the WEC before the promotion officially ceded its talent to the industry leader.



Faber met former contender Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 52 in his first bout as a bantamweight and cinched a first-round rear-naked choke that won him "Submission of the Night" honors.



Wineland slammed his way out of the WEC in the promotion's final event, WEC 53. Newcomer Ken Stone made the unwise move of pulling a standing guard on the Indiana native in the first round of their preliminary-card meeting and found himself violently introduced to the canvas and knocked out.



The sensational finish capped off a four-fight streak for Wineland, who became the first WEC bantamweight champion when he knocked out Antonio Banuelos for the belt at WEC 20. (He subsequently lost the strap to Chase Beebe when he returned the next year to the Zuffa-owned promotion.)



Tickets for UFC 128, which range in price from $60 to $500, go on sale Thursday, Jan. 13, at Ticketmaster.com.



The latest UFC 128 card includes:



•Champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Rashad Evans (for light-heavyweight title)

•Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland

•Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chael Sonnen*•Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub*•Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus*•Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle*•Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau*•Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani*•Luiz Cane vs. Karlos Vemola*

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