Ortiz, Evans, Belfort, Sapo, Rani – who’ll be the standout of UFC 133?

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Tito Ortiz, in his winning return, after going to town with his Jiu-Jitsu / UFC publicity photo

There’s a stellar card in store for Philadelphia, USA’s Wells Fargo Center, where UFC 133 will go down this coming Saturday, August 6. The evening’s main event features two former light heavyweight champions, with Tito Ortiz taking on Rashad Evans. Another heavily-anticipated matchup pits Vitor Belfort against Yoshihiro Akiyama, both of whom are coming off losses, in the middleweight division.

The first two fights on the UFC 133 undercard will be broadcast over the official UFC Facebook page, facebook.com/UFC.

After Phil Davis pulled out due to injury, Tito Ortiz stepped in to replace him in a fight that could breathe new life into his career. Following a five-year win drought, Ortiz recently saw his fortunes change in a shocking about-face, when he quickly dispatched favored-to-win Ryan Bader at UFC 132 in July. Now, he has a chance to get all the closer to the light heavyweight belt in his rematch with Rashad, with whom he fought to a draw back in 2007.

The winner of TUF season 2 and a former light heavyweight champion, Evans hasn’t fought since early last year, when he overcame Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson via unanimous judges’ decision. Putting his money on his wrestling and potent right, Evans promises to pick up where he left off with his 2009 loss to Lyoto Machida, as a win now will put him straight through to a showdown with champion Jon Jones.

Vitor back after losing to Anderson

Brazil’s Vitor Belfort will be back in the UFC for the first time since losing his bid to snatch middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s title. Vitor will now face Japan’s Yoshihiro Akiyama, who like the Brazilian, is also coming off a loss in the UFC. In his last outing, in October of last year, the Japanese fighter dropped a unanimous decision to England’s Michael Bisping. Though he’s been beaten in two of his last three UFC appearances, Akiyama took the ‘fight of the night’ bonus on every occasion he has set foot in the octagon.

Prior to hitting a stumbling block in Anderson Silva, Belfort had amassed five-straight wins. On his return to the UFC, after spending four years fighting for other promotions, the Rio de Janeiro native needed just three minutes to knock out Rich Franklin at UFC 103, in September 2009.

Brazil’s Rogério Minotouro, who would have figured on the UFC 133 card as well, the week before last announced he will be pulling out due to injury. His would-be opponent, Rich Franklin, ended up nixed from the card as well, for want of a substitute opponent for him. With the news, the Vitor Belfort-Yoshihiro Akiyama matchup will be bumped to co-main event status. The fight between Dennis Hallman and Brian Ebersole was also promoted, to the main card.

Brazil’s Rafael “Sapo” Natal will be taking on Paul Bradley. Natal, who trains in New York and had his opponent switched on him three times for the event, will be trying for his first win in the UFC middleweight division on his third outing for the promotion. The 27-year-old entered the UFC fray in 2010 and his last fight, against Jesse Bongfeldt, ended in a draw. With his solid submission skills, Rafael is likely to turn some heads.

Yet another Brazilian features on the card, with Rani Yahya set to face the undefeated Chad Mendes, who opted not to wait around for his due shot at José Aldo’s featherweight belt. Yahya is coming off a win against former WEC champion Mike Brown on their UFC debuts. The matchup will place the winner at the front of the line for a featherweight title challenge.

In another middleweight fight, Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera takes on Constantinos Philippou, who entered the mix when an injured Alessio Sakara made way. The fight promises fireworks, since both fighters are hungry for victory, having lost in their last octagon endeavors. The welterweight tilt of Rory MacDonald and the seasoned Mike Pyle will open the main card. Rory is coming off a win over Nate Diaz at UFC 129, and Pyle overcame Ricardo Almeida at UFC 128.

Who do you think will be the big name of the night? Comment below!

UFC 133
Philadelphia, USA
Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rashad Evans vs Tito Ortiz
Vitor Belfort vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
Dennis Hallman vs Brian Ebersole
Jorge Rivera vs Constantinos Philippou
Rory MacDonald vs Mike Pyle

Preliminary card

Matt Hamill vs Alexander Gustafsson
Chad Mendes vs Rani Yahya
Ivan Menjivar vs Nick Pace
Johny Hendricks vs Mike Pierce
Mike Thomas Brown vs Nam Phan
Rafael Natal vs Paul Bradley

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