UFC Books Kongo-Buentello for Versus Debut

By Brian Knapp Jan 18, 2010
French kickboxer Cheick Kongo will meet the well-traveled Paul Buentello in a key heavyweight match at UFC on Versus 1 on March 21 at the Odeum Colorado in Broomfield, Colo. The promotion on Monday made the matchup official.

Saddled by a two-fight losing streak, Kongo last competed in December, when he was choked unconscious by a Frank Mir guillotine choke at UFC 107. The chiseled 6-foot-4 Frenchman remains one of the heavyweight division’s most feared stand-up fighters and holds notable victories against 2006 Pride open weight grand prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Dutch striker Antoni Hardonk. Kongo had rattled off three consecutive wins before closing out 2009 with back-to-back losses to Mir and Cain Velasquez.

Buentello, 36, made his first Octagon appearance in nearly four years at UFC 107, as he dropped a majority decision to the 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve. Also known for his stand-up prowess, he has gone the distance only three times in his 38-fight career. Victories over Fedor Emelianenko protégé Kirill Sidelnikov, David “Tank” Abbott and Mike Kyle anchor his resume.

Meanwhile, Spencer Fisher will meet Duane Ludwig in a lightweight tilt that promises fireworks.

Fisher has posted three wins in four fights but finds himself on the rebound after he was struck into second-round submission by Joe Stevenson at UFC 104 in October. The 33-year-old North Carolinian owns victories against world-ranked welterweight Thiago Alves, Sam Stout and Caol Uno. Still one of the UFC’s most durable 155-pound competitors, he has been stopped only twice in 28 professional bouts.

Ludwig has not won a fight inside the UFC in almost four years. The 30-year-old submitted to a Jim Miller armbar at UFC 108 earlier this month. A potent muay Thai practitioner, Ludwig has secured more than half (10) of his 19 wins by knockout or technical knockout. Former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver and Canadian veteran Jonathan Goulet are among his victims.

A light heavyweight matchup pairing Jon Jones and Brandon Vera will headline the UFC’s debut on the Versus network, along with a heavyweight bout between Junior dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga.
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