Horwich, Almeida to Collide at UFC 90

By Brian Knapp Aug 12, 2008
Former International Fight League middleweight champion Matt Horwich (Pictures) will make his promotional debut at UFC 90 “Silva vs. Cote” on Oct. 25 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. UFC representatives announced the matchup on Tuesday, along with another middleweight bout between Thales Leites (Pictures) and Goran Reljic (Pictures).

Based at Team Quest, Horwich (23-10-1) last competed in May, when he earned a unanimous decision nod against Joey Guel (Pictures) at an IFL event in Uncasville, Conn. The 30-year-old has never been knocked out in 34 career bouts, and his only three submission defeats came as a light heavyweight. One of the mixed martial arts world’s most eccentric characters, Horwich holds notable victories against Xtreme Couture’s Mike Pyle (Pictures) and UFC veterans Benji Radach (Pictures), Jason MacDonald (Pictures), Josh Burkman (Pictures) and Vernon White (Pictures). A protégé of 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland (Pictures), he has posted four wins in five fights.

Almeida (9-3), meanwhile, finds himself on the rebound for the first time in more than six years after his seven-fight winning streak was snapped in a split decision loss to Canadian Patrick Cote (Pictures) at UFC 86 in July. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie (Pictures), Almeida wields some of the best functional submission grappling in the business, as evidenced by his wins over former King of Pancrase Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) and Pride Fighting Championships veteran Ryo Chonan (Pictures).

Another middleweight showdown will pit rising contenders Leites and Reljic against one another at UFC 90.

Leites (13-1) improved his stock with a split decision victory against Marquardt at UFC 85 in June, even though he benefited from a pair of point deductions in the hotly contested bout. The 27-year-old Brazilian has secured eight of his 13 career wins by submission and has put together a four-fight winning streak since he suffered the lone defeat of his career -- a unanimous decision loss to Martin Kampmann (Pictures) at “The Ultimate Fighter 4” Live Finale in November 2006.

A former light heavyweight, the undefeated Reljic (8-0) impressed in his promotional debut at UFC 84 in May, as he stopped American Top Team’s Wilson Gouveia (Pictures) on second-round strikes. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Roger Gracie (Pictures), the 24-year-old Croatian prospect has showcased a well-rounded skill set in finishing seven of his eight opponents.

Middleweight champion Anderson Silva (Pictures) will defend his 185-pound crown against Cote in the featured bout at UFC 90.
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