Willamy Freire (left): Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Shooto champion Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire will make his promotional debut against Thiago Tavares in a preliminary lightweight matchup at UFC on Versus 2 on Aug. 1 at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego. Eleven fights are now official for the event, which was relocated from Salt Lake City due to poor ticket sales.
Tavares last appeared in January, when he battled Minnesota Martial Arts Academy standout Nik Lents to a draw at UFC Fight Night 20. Wins against world-ranked featherweights Michihiro Omigawa and Manny Gamburyan anchor the 25-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s resume. Tavares opened his career with 12 consecutive victories and has been finished only once -- by “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 quarterfinalist Matt Wiman -- as a professional.
Spawned by the Nova Uniao camp, Freire will carry an 11-fight winning streak into his first Octagon appearance. The 22-year-old Brazilian last appeared in May, when he notched a split decision against Yusuke Endo at Shooto “The Way of Shooto 3.” Freire, who has never fought in the United States, has secured nearly half (nine) of his 17 victories by submission. In 20 career bouts, he has never been knocked out.
Meanwhile, undefeated Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira will make his first UFC appearance in a preliminary lightweight pairing with Darrin Elkins.
Elkins, a state wrestling champion in high school, will carry a three-fight winning streak into the match. The 26-year-old Hobart, Ind., native trains alongside former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland at the Duneland Vale Tudo academy. Elkins counts victories against UFC veteran Gideon Ray and 2010 Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight tournament winner Pat Curran among his 12 career conquests. A former lightweight titleholder in the Corral’s Combat Classic promotion, he has secured 10 wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Unbeaten in 12 professional appearances, Oliveira has 11 finishes on his resume. He has not competed since February, when he scored first-round stoppages against Diego Bataglia and Rosenildo Rocha on the same night under the Warriors Challenge banner in his native Brazil. Oliveira has fought one other time on United States soil, submitting Dom Stanco at a Ring of Combat event in April 2009.
Jon Jones will meet former International Fight League light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko in the UFC on Versus 2 headliner. The event will also feature a middleweight clash pairing the world-ranked Yushin Okami with Mark Munoz, a lightweight showdown pitting former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi against Joe Stevenson and a welterweight match between Jake Ellenberger and John Howard.
UFC on Versus 2
Sunday, Aug. 1
San Diego Sports Arena
Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Yushin Okami vs. Mark Munoz
Jake Ellenberger vs. John Howard
Takanori Gomi vs. Joe Stevenson
DaMarques Johnson vs. Matt Riddle
Paul Kelly vs. Jacob Volkmann
James Irvin vs. Igor Pokrajac
Thiago Tavares vs. Willamy Freire
Brian Stann vs. Mike Massenzio
Rob Kimmons vs. Steve Steinbeiss
Darren Elkins vs. Charles Oliveira