Alessio Sakara (red trunks) | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has added three new contests to the official fight card for UFC Live 3 “Sanchez vs. Kampmann”.
The promotion on Wednesday updated the lineup to include a middleweight tilt between Alessio Sakara and Rafael “Sapo” Natal, a light heavyweight scrap featuring Steve Cantwell and Cyrille Diabate, and a welterweight affair pitting Johny Hendricks against Paulo Thiago. The card is now nearly complete with 11 bouts. Only an expected middleweight matchup between Rousimar Palhares and Dave Branch is yet to be confirmed.
UFC Live 3 takes place March 3 and will go down at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The event will be headlined by a welterweight showdown between Danish striker Martin Kampmann and the resurgent Diego Sanchez.
Although poor health kept Sakara from competing in the second half of 2010, the heavy-handed Italian still rides a three-fight winning streak heading into his contest with Natal, with two of his three recent wins coming by way of knockout. “Legionarius” was initially supposed to meet Chute Boxe product Maiquel Falcao at UFC Live 3, but Natal stepped up to replace his fellow Brazilian after an injury sidelined “Big Rig.”
In Natal, Sakara faces a Renzo Gracie product with a potent ground game. A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, “Sapo” holds seven of his 12 career victories by submission. Natal has gone 0-1-1 in his UFC career, losing to Rich Attonito in his debut and drawing with Jesse Bongfeldt in his sophomore effort in December.
Cantwell and Diabate each have their backs against the wall, as both men are looking to rebound from defeats. Cantwell has lost two straight bouts to Luis Cane and Brian Stann, while Diabate comes off a one-sided loss to Alexander Gustafsson.
Hendricks and Thiago also both tasted defeat in their previous outings, as the Brazilian was outworked by Diego Sanchez at UFC 121 and Hendricks dropped a close unanimous decision to Rick Story at “The Ultimate Fighter 12” finale. The loss marked the first defeat of Hendricks’ career.