London, England – After reconfiguring the in-house production at the sold-out O2 Arena, London, England, the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R) organisation has been able to more seating capacity for next week’s UFC 120: BISPING v AKIYAMA event.
Featuring arguably the three greatest Britons in UFC(R) history – Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy and John ‘Hitman’ Hathaway – UFC 120 has completely sold out the original seating plan put on sale for the October 16 event.
However, the UFC has worked with the O2 Arena to reconfigure the arena to allow extra seats to be made available to the public. This, along with the O2’s new ‘Backstage’ section, will ensure UFC 120 shatters the company’s previous European records for attention and box office.
UFC UK Division President Marshall Zelaznik said: “We’re ecstatic that this event has captured the imagination like it has and sold out in its original plan. The level of support the British fighters get from their public is unbelievable and the O2 will have a blistering atmosphere from the very first horn. UFC 120 is already the most successful UFC event ever in Europe, and we are very happy to have been able to work with the O2 to reconfigure the seating plan to allow us to put more seats in.”
Tickets for UFC 120 are priced at £50, £75, £100, £125, £175 and £250 are on on sale now via ticketmaster.co.uk and the O2 Arena box office.
UFC 120 will be screened LIVE on ESPN in the UK and Ireland.
A staggering eight British-born mixed martial artists will appear at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday October 16, as UFC 120 brings the cream of the fighting crop to the British Isles for the first time in 2010. The event will feature 11 bouts in total and will act as a showcase for many of the leading mixed martial artists from the United Kingdom.
Headlining the show, and no stranger to big events in homeland, is British hero Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping (20-3), winner of The Ultimate Fighter season three and the man who first blazed the trail for his countrymen to follow. The Manchester middleweight takes on Japanese superstar and judo master Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-2, 2 NC) at UFC 120, and knows victory is essential if he’s to fulfil his goal of winning the UFC middleweight title in 2011.
Welterweight Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy (23-7, 1 NC) has his sights set on another title shot, as he steps inside the Octagon for the first time since becoming the first Briton to challenge for a UFC world title in March. The Nottingham striker meets well-rounded American Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit (25-5) at UFC 120, and many are expecting fireworks between these two ‘never say die’ 170-pounders.
The same could be said of the welterweight showdown between Brighton’s John ‘Hitman’ Hathaway (14-0) and Las Vegas scrapper Mike Pyle (19-7-1). The two warriors meet in a battle between youth and experience, as unbeaten 22-year-old Hathaway looks to continue the impressive hot-streak of recent form which most recently saw him scalp Diego Sanchez, while former WEC champ Pyle attempts to showcase his devastating submission skills.
The heavyweights also throw down at UFC 120 in London, as hard-hitting juggernauts Cheick Kongo (25-6-1) and Travis Browne (10-0) go head-to-head over three rounds. In a fight expected to end quickly and emphatically, the undefeated 6ft 7inch Browne faces the sternest test of his career to date in the form of Parisian kick-boxer Kongo.
Rounding off the highly competitive main card is another fascinating crossroads welterweight clash between Leicestershire-born, California-based James ‘Lightning’ Wilks (8-3) and Canadian prodigy Claude ‘The Prince’ Patrick (12-1). Set to meet in a battle of grappling wizards, either TUF 9 king Wilks or Patrick will walk away with BJJ bragging rights at 170lbs.
In addition to the intriguing main card bouts, the UFC are also pleased to announce a further six preliminary matches for its bumper show in London on October 16.
Hailing from the North East of England, Curt Warburton (6-1) is making his UFC debut on October 16. A training partner of Michael Bisping and ‘Rampage’ Jackson, the highly regarded Warburton has previously split three fights with Ross Pearson, winner of season nine of The Ultimate Fighter. Now set for the biggest test of his career, Warburton faces American contender Spencer ‘The King’ Fisher (24-6), a veteran fighter with victories over Sam Stout, Thiago Alves and Jeremy Stephens.
If it’s submissions you’re after, look no further than Liverpool’s Paul Sass (10-0), another UFC debutant who makes his first start at UFC 120. The lively 22-year-old lightweight holds the world record for consecutive triangle choke victories, having secured seven on the bounce from August 2007 to March 2009. In fact, nine of his 10 professional victories have arrived via some form of submission, thus alerting the UFC to his obvious talents. Sass takes on Canada’s Mark Holst (8-2), a karate black and BJJ purple belt who is just as confident standing as he is grappling.
Pinpoint strikers collide when light-heavyweight beanpoles Cyrille ‘The Snake’ Diabate (17-6-3) and Alexander Gustafsson (9-1) meet at UFC 120. Six-foot-six Frenchman Diabate made a considerable splash earlier this year when, competing in his UFC debut, he spectacularly knocked out leading contender Luiz Cane inside one round with a dazzling display of Muay-Thai. Meanwhile, young hotshot Gustafsson has chalked up seven of his nine victories by knockout and won his own UFC debut last November in a mere 41-seconds. Expect an explosion when these two fast-finishers meet.
Considered by many to be Britain’s best current heavyweight, Rob ‘The Bear’ Broughton (14-5-1) makes his UFC bow in preliminary action, as he trades blows with Chute Boxe banger Vinicius Queiroz (5-1). The St. Helens behemoth has impressively defeated most of Britain’s leading big men and now looks to takes his skills to the premier league of mixed martial arts. Aggressive Brazilian Queiroz comes from famous fighting stock and is intent on spoiling the party on October 16.
Another British standout, James McSweeney (13-6), also confronts a dangerous Brazilian at UFC 120, when he meets late-replacement Fabio Maldonado (17-3) over three rounds. A former member of The Ultimate Fighter cast, striker McSweeney – who is making his light heavyweight debut – trains with the renowned Greg Jackson camp, and will be competing in his homeland for the first time since signing with the UFC. Debutant Maldonado has compiled impressive stats in his homeland of Brazil and, blessed with a knack of finishing fights inside schedule, will attempt to light up the UFC in London.
Finally, former WEC light-heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell (7-3) makes his first appearance in Britain when he meets Bulgaria’s Stanislav Nedkov (11-0) in the 205-pound division. Las Vegas’ Cantwell holds wins over Brian Stann and Razak Al-Hassan, while the undefeated Nedkov competes for the first time in the UFC, having scored 11 straight victories away from the Octagon.