This Saturday UFC Fight Night 23, Fights for the Troops 2 will be held in Texas. Although the card doesn’t feature any of the promotion’s biggest stars, there should be no lack of action. The fighters called on for the show tend to put on some lively bouts, which is what really matters in the end.
Former WEC champion Mike Brown, for example, will face black belt Rani Yahya in a bout that could define the future of the two in the organization. While Rani is coming off back-to-back losses while still in the WEC, Brown has lost three of his last five performances.
“Each loss is different, so it’s hard to say. José Aldo was a better fighter and that’s what took me down. I think Manny (Gamburyan) got me on the chin. I feel I’m a better fighter than him, but that’s how fights are. Against Diego Nunes, I had adrenaline dump and wore out early. All of them were dramatic losses and I can’t point out just one thing, understand?” comments Brown on the UFC official website.
“I’m still a monster in the gym. I know it, my training partners know it. I’m not an easy fight for anybody and I’m confident I can beat anyone on any given night. I’m going to knock him out,” he warns.
The the star of the marquee fight of the night is Melvin Guillard, one of the athletes with the most extensive record in the organization, coming off three positive results in a row. His opponent is Evan Dunham, who is coming off his first loss after ten back-to-back wins.
“I told everyone in 2010 that I wanted to win all my fights that year and in 2011 win the title. Now I feel that he (Dunham) is close to a title fight. So, for them to give me this fight, they must feel the same way about me. I’m taking this bout to be one that defines the next challenger. After that, I should fight for the title against (Anthony) Pettis or (Frankie) Edgar, I should have a shot at the title,” wagers Melvin.
And the evening also marks some debuts. Former Shooto World champion Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire is getting his induction into the lightweight mix against Waylon Lowe.
“One time I took a picture holding José Aldo’s belt and everyone joked: ‘Get used to it for when you win yours (laughs)!’ It’s just a joke, but if people believe in me the way I do, I see no problem in imagining a marvelous future in the UFC. Every title I’ve disputed I’ve won. I don’t feel he (Lowe) has anything more than I do, and I never consider the possibility of losing. With faith in God, I’ll get there,” declares Chiquerim.
Chiquerim’s teammate at Nova União Amilcar Alves wants to beat Charlie Brenneman to erase the memory of the loss he suffered on making his UFC debut, when he was armbarred by Mike Pierce.
Comparing Brenneman with Pierce, I expect a good fight because he won’t be able to avoid trading strikes. He can try and take me down, the way Pierce did, but this time I’ll have an answer. This time, Brenneman should worry about facing an aggressive and furious opponent who will fight differently. The keyword is action, not reaction.”
Check out the complete card and check back with GRACIEMAG.com for coverage:
UFN 23: Fights For The Troops
Killeen, Texas, USA
January 22, 2011
Evan Dunham vs. Melvin Guillard
Tim Hague vs. Matt Mitrione
Mark Hominick vs. George Roop
Pat Barry vs. Joey Beltran
Cole Miller vs. Matt Wiman
Yves Edwards vs. Cody McKenzie
Mike Guymon vs. DaMarques Johnson
Mike Brown vs. Rani Yahya
Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire vs. Waylon Lowe
Amilcar Alves vs. Charlie Brenneman
Chris Cariaso vs. Will Campuzano