8 Fights Signed for UFC 133 in Philadelphia

By Brian Knapp May 31, 2011
Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin will lock horns with Pride Fighting Championships veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the UFC 133 “Evans vs. Davis” co-main event on Aug. 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Eight bouts are now official for the show, which will air live on pay-per-view.

Franklin (Pictured; file photo) last appeared at UFC 126 in February, when he came up on the short side of a unanimous decision to onetime light heavyweight titleholder Forrest Griffin at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. A proven finisher with well-rounded skills, the 36-year-old Cincinnati native has secured 25 of his 28 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Wins over former UFC light heavyweight king Chuck Liddell, Brazilian icon Wanderlei Silva, the world-ranked Yushin Okami, UFC hall of famer Ken Shamrock and the late Evan Tanner (twice) anchor his lengthy and distinguished resume. Franklin owns a 13-5 mark in the UFC, his 13 wins tying him with reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Jon Fitch for sixth all-time.

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and accomplished boxer, Nogueira will carry a two-fight losing streak into the match. The 34-year-old last fought at UFC Fight Night 24 in March, when he dropped a unanimous decision to unbeaten prospect Phil Davis at the Key Arena in Seattle. Revered for his durability, Nogueira has been finished just once in 24 professional outings. He owns notable victories against Japanese pioneer Kazushi Sakuraba, reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (twice) and former two-division Pride titleholder Dan Henderson.

Meanwhile, former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort will answer the call against Yoshihiro Akiyama in a featured duel at 185 pounds.

Belfort has not fought since he succumbed to a highlight-reel front kick in his failed attempt to lift the middleweight crown from Silva at UFC 126; the defeat snapped a five-fight winning streak. Blessed with arguably the fastest hands in the sport, he has delivered more than half (13) of his 19 career victories by knockout or technical knockout. Belfort also holds black belts in both judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He has competed in three weight classes -- heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight -- since his 1996 debut at age 19.

An accomplished judoka, Akiyama last appeared at UFC 120 in October, when he surrendered a unanimous decision to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Michael Bisping at the O2 Arena in London. The 35-year-old has been part of the “Fight of the Night” in each of his first three UFC bouts, two of them defeats. Wins over Pride veteran Denis Kang, Dutch knockout artist Melvin Manhoef and UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher buoy his resume. Akiyama -- the 2006 K-1 Hero’s light heavyweight grand prix winner -- has secured 12 of his 13 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

Finally, former International Fight League light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko will collide with Alexander Gustafsson in a key matchup at 205 pounds.

Matyushenko has posted 13 wins in his past 15 outings. The 40-year-old Belarusian dazzled in his most recent appearance, as he knocked out Jason Brilz in 20 seconds at UFC 129 in April; he has finished his last two opponents inside one round. Matyushenko has compiled a 7-3 mark inside the Octagon, his only defeats coming to current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, former 205-pound titleholder Tito Ortiz and onetime heavyweight boss Andrei Arlovski.

The once-beaten Gustafsson will carry a two-fight winning streak into the match. The 24-year-old Swede last fought at UFC 127 in February, when he submitted James Te Huna with a first-round rear-naked choke at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. Only one of Gustaffson’s 12 professional fights has reached the judges.

A light heavyweight duel between Davis and former champion Rashad Evans will headline UFC 133. The event will also carry a middleweight battle pairing Jorge Rivera with American Top Team veteran Alessio Sakara, a welterweight matchup pitting Johny Hendricks against Mike Pierce and a middleweight bout matching former Deep titleholder Riki Fukuda with Rafael Natal.

UFC 133 “Evans vs. Davis”
Saturday, Aug. 6
Wells Fargo Center

Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
Rich Franklin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole
Johny Hendricks vs. Mike Pierce
Riki Fukuda vs. Rafael Natal
* Chad Mendes vs. Rani Yahya
* Mike Thomas Brown vs. Nam Phan
* Ivan Menjivar vs. Nick Pace
* Mike Pyle vs. Rory MacDonald

* Not Official

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