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Headlining a fantastic evening of fights is former interim heavyweight champion (#13) Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (34-8-1, 1 NC, in professional MMA and fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), aka “Big Nog”, battling Roy “Big Country” Nelson (19-9, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in a five round fight that will catapult the victor back into the elite of the division. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace and legend of the sport, (#13) Nogueira has notable wins over former UFC champions Ricco Rodriguez, Josh Barnett, Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture. Tenth-ranked Nelson, a fan favourite, stormed onto the UFC scene by winning The Ultimate Fighter® Heavyweights tournament in 2009 and has garnered an impressive four Knock Out of the Night bonuses since.
The co-main event will feature a dynamic featherweight match-up between Clay “The Carpenter” Guida and Tatsuya “The Crusher” Kawajiri. Kawajiri (33-7-2, fighting out of Ibaraki, Japan) is on a scintillating run having won his last six bouts, including his UFC debut against Sean Soriano in Singapore in January. Ninth-ranked Guida (30-11, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.), has fought an incredible 18 times inside the Octagon® and developed a reputation as one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters in amassing five Fight of the Night bonuses and being the only person to defeat current lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the UFC.
Polish heavyweight Daniel Omielanczuk (16-3-1, 1NC, fighting out of Warsaw, Poland) will match up against Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt (9-1, fighting out of Arlington, Texas), with both men coming off big wins in their UFC debuts and looking to make it two in a row.
Also facing off the Octagon® will be middleweights Andrew “Highlight” Craig and Chris Camozzi. Craig (9-2, fighting out of Houston, Texas), last competed in a Fight of the Night barnburner against Luke Barnatt at UFC® FIGHT NIGHT MANCHESTER. Camozzi (19-7, fighting out of Lakewood, Colo.), a veteran of the UFC since 2010, has never been knocked out in his career and will try to use that toughness to earn a big win over a tough competitor in Craig.
Brazilian grappling champion Rani Yahya (19-8, fighting out of Brasilia, Brazil) moves down to bantamweight as he looks to begin a run to the top of the division against battle-tested veteran, Johnny “Brutal” Bedford (19-11-1, fighting out of Ft. Worth, Texas).
Turkey’s Alptekin ‘The Turkish Delight” Ozkilic (9-2, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.) goes head-to-head with American Dustin Ortiz (12-3, fighting out of Franklin, Tenn.) in a flyweight battle, while The Ultimate Fighter® Season 13 runner up Ramsey Nijem (9-4, fighting out of Orem, Utah) will face the undefeated Beneil Dariush (7-0, fighting out of Yorba Linda, Calif.) in a clash of rising lightweights.
Ryan LaFlare (10-0, fighting out of Farmingdale, N.Y.) will put his undefeated MMA career on the line when he faces Boston’s John Howard (22-8) in a welterweight bout. Jim “The Beast” Alers (12-1, fighting out of Orlando, FL) will face the Iraqi Alan Omer (18-3) in a featherweight bout with both men making their UFC debuts.
The final fight on the card will see accomplished wrestler Trevor Smith (11-4, fighting out of Tukwila, Wash.) against former title challenger Thales Leites (22-4, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) in a battle of gritty middleweights both coming off wins and looking to keep their momentum going.