Nashville, Tennessee will finally get the event it has been looking forward to for years. The UFC will bring its promotion to Music City on April 1, 2009 for Ultimate Fight Night 18.
The event will broadcast live on SPIKE TV and will serve as prelude to episode one of The Ultimate Fighter season nine. This season of the Ultimate Fighter will feature Team U.K., coached by Michael Bisping vs. Team USA, coached by the UFC 93 winner of Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.
A fight between The Ultimate Fighter season 8 lightweight winner, Efrain Escudero, and Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens has been confirmed for the Ultimate Fight Night 18 card in Nashville. Stephens, who is coming off a KO win over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 91, also has a win over Cole Miller at Ultimate Fight Night 12.
Stephens is 3-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming by way of Spencer Fisher. He is 14-3 overall with 10 T(KO)s, 2 submissions, and 1 decision. Escudero is undefeated at 11-0 with 9 submission wins and 2 decisions. On paper, this match should be a good striker vs. grappler match up.
Nashville and Tennessee as a whole is a hotbed of MMA activity. With a whole host of MMA gyms and fighters, the area waited patiently for years for the sport to become legalized. Finally in 2008, that dream was realized. Gameness Fighting Championship has already held Nashville’s first sanctioned event with it’s next card set for Valentine’s day.
It’s a little surprising the UFC’s first stop in Tennessee will be in Nashville instead of Quinton Jackson’s hometown of Memphis. However, Nashville is the Capital and that’s where the lawmakers are. With all the revenue the UFC brings to a city, this could be a good way to say “thank you” to the people who just helped legalize the sport only last summer.
Props: Five Ounces of Pain