THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP® RETURNS TO BIRMINGHAM, NOVEMBER 5
UFC 138 TICKETS ON SALE THIS WEEK
CHRIS 'THE CRIPPLER' LEBEN AND MARK 'THE FILIPINO WRECKING MACHINE'
MUNOZ SET FOR FIREWORKS ON BONFIRE NIGHT, WHILE BRIT HOPES BRAD PICKETT,
JOHN HATHAWAY AND PAUL TAYLOR ALSO MAKE MAIN CARD APPEARANCES.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® organisation will illuminate the skies of Great Britain this coming bonfire night, as UFC 138®: LEBEN vs. MUNOZ heads to the LG Arena in Birmingham on Saturday, November 5.
Showcasing a fascinating middleweight (13stone 3lbs) showdown between fan favourites Chris 'The Crippler' Leben and Mark 'The Filipino Wrecking Machine' Munoz, as well as a bantamweight (9st 9lbs) battle between Brad 'One Punch' Pickett and Renan Barao, UFC 138 marks the UFC's first and only appearance on British soil this calendar year.
Tickets for UFC 138 are priced at £50, £75, £100, £150 and £225 and go on sale to UFC Fight Club members on Wednesday, September 7 (non-members may join at UFCFightClub.com to get a pre-sale code) at 9am and to UFC Newsletter subscribers on Thursday, September 8 at 9am via theticketfactory.com.
Tickets will then go on general public release on Friday, September 9 at 9am and will be available to buy via theticketfactory.com and the LG Arena box office.
The UFC 138 main event between Leben and Munoz carries significance for a number of reasons. As well as having major implications on the future of the middleweight division, Leben's brawl with Munoz also represents the first time a UFC non-title fight has ever been scheduled over five rounds.
The 31-year-old Leben, 22-7 in his career, remains one of the most colourful and beloved characters in the sport of mixed martial arts, having first risen to prominence as a cast member on season one of The Ultimate Fighter. He has since carved a niche for himself as a dangerous and durable middleweight contender and has scored stunning victories over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Aaron Simpson. He was last seen on British shores in October 2008, the night he last travelled to Birmingham and pushed British hero Michael 'The Count' Bisping all the way.
Rejuvenated by recent results, however, Portland-born Leben looks to move one step closer to a shock stab at the UFC middleweight championship with an emphatic victory over Munoz.
The 33-year-old Munoz, 11-2 in MMA, meanwhile, is another fighter who is at the peak of his powers. The former light-heavyweight contender is now settled and thriving at the peak of the UFC's middleweight division and has dazzled in wins over Demian Maia, C.B. Dollaway and Aaron Simpson. A world-class wrestler with one-punch knockout power, Californian Munoz guarantees excitement each and every time he steps inside the Octagon.
British fight fans have waited with baited breath for the arrival of Brad 'One Punch' Pickett, 21-4, a high-octane bantamweight who previously compete with distinction in the WEC® organisation. The talented Londoner scored Stateside wins over currently No1 contender Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson and Ivan Menjivar and now attempts to bring the same level of success into the UFC's famed Octagon.
Pickett's first UFC opponent will be Renan Barao, 26-1 1NC, a skilful 24-year-old from Rio De Janeiro of whom great things are expected. Having spent the first five years of his career competing in his native Brazil, Barao has achieved his last three victories in America has the longest unbeaten record in all of MMA. His recent performances have announced his arrival as a major player in the 9stone 9lbs division and this battle with Pickett has significant implications for the bantamweight class.
Another British star looking to steal the show at UFC 138 is John 'Hitman' Hathaway, 15-1, a welterweight contender from Brighton with the world at his feet. Still just 24 years of age, Hathaway has already defeated the likes of Diego Sanchez, Rick Story and Paul Taylor in his brief UFC tenure and many consider the long-limbed fighter one of the best prospects in mixed martial arts right now.
Hathaway's foe on November 5 will be American Matt 'The Immortal' Brown, 12-10, no stranger to the British Isles himself. The 32-year-old Brown shattered the dreams of Englishman James Wilks in Manchester in November 2009 and carries a reputation for dogged determination and a never-say-die spirit. Brown most recently defeated the dangerous John Howard over three rounds and seeks to continue this good form on a return trip to Britain in November.
The UFC 138 main card is rounded off by an intriguing match between former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago 'Pitbull' Alves and Sweden's undefeated Papy Abedi, as well as a lightweight slugfest between Walsall favourite Paul Taylor and fast-rising Nigerian Anthony Njokuani.
UFC 138 will be broadcast live in the UK by ESPN; by Spike in the US.