European Throwdown: Hardy to UFC

Hardy to UFC

By Tim Leidecker May 8, 2008
Top European welterweight Dan Hardy (Pictures) is the latest British fighter to land a contract with the UFC.

The 25-year-old kickboxer from Nottingham in central England will strive to follow in the footsteps of "Ultimate Fighter" season three winner Michael Bisping (Pictures) and become another showpiece for the United Kingdom.

After finishing seven of his last nine opponents -- including Japanese grappler Hidetaka Monma (Pictures), UFC veteran Chad Reiner (Pictures) and most recently German submission expert Daniel Weichel -- Hardy's management secured a deal that could see him fight four times in the Octagon.

With the UFC's fight cards completed through UFC 86 in July, the earliest Hardy can hope to make his debut in the big show will likely be in August on the undercard of the heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar (Pictures) and Mark Coleman (Pictures).

Event Named After Fedor

Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) is getting his own event courtesy of his home promotion, M-1 Mix-Fight. The Fedor Emelianenko Trophy will take place May 15 in Nizhniy Novgorod, an industrial city situated east of Moscow.

The fight card picks up the thread started by the M-1 Challenge events in the Netherlands and in Russia earlier this spring. In two country-versus-country contests, a team of Fedor's Red Devil teammates will take on a selection of fighters from Spain, and a combat sambo squad from Nizhniy Novgorod will challenge an all-star squad from all over Europe.

The winners of these battles will be matched up in the grand final in October 2008.

Complete card:

Maksim Rozhkov (Russia) vs. Aleksey Cherepovsky (Russia)
Sergey Khramov (Russia) vs. Victor Nemkov (Russia)
Igor Savelyev (Russia) vs. TBA

Red Devil Sport Club vs. Equipo Español
Mikhail Malyutin (Russia) vs. Carles Valery (Spain)
Roman Potapov (Russia) vs. Juan Manuel Suarez (Spain)
Radmir Gabdulin (Russia) vs. Jonathan Leon (Spain)
Mikhail Zayats (Russia) vs. Daniel Tabera (Pictures) (Spain)
Kiril Sidelnikov (Russia) vs. Carmelo Molina (Spain)

Combat Sambo Team vs. Team Europe
Maksim Kuptsov (Russia) vs. Samuel Jude (France)
Vladimir Vladimirov (Russia) vs. Jaroslav Poborsky (Czech Republic)
Vasiliy Krylov (Russia) vs. Lopez Owonyebe (France)
Andrei Lisitsyn (Russia) vs. Christian N'Pumbu (France)
Dmitriy Zabolotny (Russia) vs. Ricardo Wondel (Holland)

Faverus Tries to Rebound at Cage Rage

Rodney Faverus, who five years ago was considered one of the brightest Dutch kickboxing talents, will have to bounce back from four consecutive defeats when he takes on British boxer James Zikic (Pictures) on Saturday at Cage Rage 26 in Birmingham, England.

The former pupil of notorious Dutch vale tudo fighter "Dirty" Bob Schrijber (Pictures) has been plagued by various injuries in recent years. As a result, he has only fought six times since 2004, losing to countryman Gilbert Yvel (Pictures) by knockout and UFC vet Renato Sobral (Pictures) via submission, among other defeats.

When he is in form, though, Faverus is as dangerous as they come. His list of wins includes fellow kickboxers Cheick Kongo (Pictures), Cyrille Diabate (Pictures) and Melvin Manhoef (Pictures).

Upcoming opponent James Zikic (Pictures) is trying to bounce back himself. The 31-year-old former cruiserweight boxer from Watford in the northwest of London lost the Cage Rage light heavyweight championship to Vitor Belfort (Pictures) last September. Before winning the vacant title in a dramatic fight against Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos in April 2007, the British pugilist had been inactive for two and a half years.

A clash of such experienced standup fighters will guarantee fireworks on the feet for the fans at the NEC Arena.

KSW Hosts Another Strong Show in Warsaw

Polish promoter Konfrontacją Sztuk Walki has put together another tremendous card full of top European talent for its light heavyweight tournament Friday in Warsaw.

Fighting in the one-night, eight-man grand prix will be an international cast of competitors. Among the most promising participants are previous winner Alexey Oleinik (Pictures) of Ukraine; local hero Antoni Chmielewski, who returns to the ring after a nearly three-year absence; and undersized German knockout artist Martin Zawada, who, despite a recent slump, is always dangerous.

In two non-tournament fights, the promotion's top ace, Mamed Khalidov, takes on Lithuanian Valdas Pocevicius, and Polish standout Maciej Gorski clashes with Slovenian newcomer Gregor Pongrac.

The sentimental highlight of the evening will undoubtedly be the last fight of Grzegorz Jakubowski's career. The "Mighty Bull" from Danzig has been a mainstay in the European fight scene for the past six years and will be calling it quits after one final battle with Bulgarian UFC veteran Jordan Radev (Pictures).

Complete card:

Light Heavyweight Tournament
Antoni Chmielewski (Poland) vs. Yusuke Masuda (Pictures) (Japan)
Martin Zawada (Germany) vs. Jan Blachowicz (Poland)
Alexey Oleinik (Pictures) (Ukraine) vs. Daniel Dowda (Poland)
Vitor Nobrega (Brazil) vs. Aziz Karaoglu (Turkey)

Single Fights
Maciej Gorski (Poland) vs. Gregor Pongrac (Slovenia)
Mamed Khalidov (Chechnya) vs. Valdas Pocevicius (Lithuania)
Grzegorz Jakubowski (Poland) vs. Jordan Radev (Pictures) (Bulgaria)
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