Struve-Dos Santos Set for UFC 95, Overeem-Hari Paired at K-1 Year-Ender

By Tim Leidecker Dec 25, 2008
The UFC’s latest Dutch signing, Stefan Struve, will face the stiffest test in his young career as he takes on one of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s top students in Junior "Cigano" dos Santos on the undercard of UFC 95 on Feb. 21 in London, England.

Struve (16-2) earned his ticket to the big time by removing two former UFC veterans in Colin Robinson and Mario “Sucata” Neto from his path in impressive fashion.

Meanwhile, dos Santos (7-1) burst onto the scene at UFC 90 last October with his shocking knockout of perennial contender Fabricio Werdum. Once touted as a challenger to the heavyweight title, Werdum was released from the promotion shortly after the loss.

The 6-foot-8 Dutchman is a total counter concept to the Netherlands fighter prototype, for despite his size, the 20-year-old student of notorious brawler Bob Schrijber has taken 12 of his 16 wins by way of submission.

K-1 pairs “bad boys” Overeem and Hari

Alistair Overeem,’s No. 9 ranked heavyweight, will take on Moroccan Bad Boy Badr Hari in a K-1 rules match at “Premium Dynamite 2008” on New Year’s Eve in Saitama, Japan. The kickboxing bout was confirmed by a representative from Mike’s Gym, Hari’s camp in the Netherlands, via e-mail.

The 28-year-old Overeem was originally looking to continue where he left off in his controversial September confrontation with Croatian nemesis Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, but promoter Fighting & Entertainment Group had other plans and pitted Filipovic against Korean giant Hong Man Choi in an MMA bout on the same night.

The fight against Hari, who was K-1’s heavyweight champion before being stripped of the title for his antics during his bout against Remy Bonjasky at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final, will serve as an excellent barometer for Overeem’s striking ability.

There are persistent rumors within the Dutch martial arts scene that regardless of the outcome of their New Year’s Eve clash, the hotheaded duo is again set to clash in May 2009, this time under MMA rules.

Jeff Sherwood/

Daniel Tabera has signed
with the Bellator
Fighting Championships.
Bellator snaps up “the Gladiator”

Fledging MMA promotion Bellator Fighting Championships has added another fighter to its roster, which already includes breakout star and Dream lightweight grand prix MVP Eddie Alvarez, American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal, and Pride Bushido veteran and recent UFC castoff Paulo Filho, who has also verbally agreed to join the promotion which launches four eight-man tournaments on ESPN Deportes over 12 weeks in April.

With the signing of Daniel Tabera, who hails from Valencia’s S.h.o.o.t Spain team, Bellator now possesses another world-class fighter who has the ability to compete in three different weight classes: middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight. Tabera, 31, will compete in the promotion’s middleweight bracket, confirmed Bellator reps.

Spain’s No. 1 ranked fighter is the 2006 Mars middleweight tournament winner, sports a 4-1-2 record in M-1 and has clocked in highly competitive draws with Gilbert Yvel and Mamed Khalidov.

German website, the home of the official European rankings, currently ranks Tabera at No. 4 in the light heavyweight division, ahead of UK legend Ian Freeman, Polish high-flier Jan Blachowicz and Croatian judoka Maro Perak.

100% Fight To Host First Legalized Show in France

France has suffered under a lot of repressive laws when it comes to MMA. All the greater was the relief and joy when the French government lifted their ban on the sport in January 2008. Though MMA under Shooto rules was deemed legal in France as of Jan. 27, it took promoters almost a full year to really seize their newly won opportunity and put on a big show.

Parisian promotion 100% Fight has announced its first event “Samurai” on Jan. 10 at the 4,836-seat Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin in the nation’s capital after two previous postponements.

In the main event, Cyrille Diabate’s top student Gregory "Blade" Babene will take on submission specialist Karl "Psycho" Amoussou in a classic striker versus grappler confrontation. The undercard is very strong as well, with Pride Bushido veteran Luciano Azevedo taking on Pancrase vet Johnny Frachey and the explosive Christian "Tonton" M'Pumbu going toe-to-toe with Luta Livre black belt Leonardo "Chocolate" Lucio Nascimento.

“Cipao” gets offer he can’t refuse

Michal Materla, a ADCC European champion and Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, will make his MMA comeback after sitting out for the last 20 months due to a lack of interesting offers. The heavily tattooed middleweight will return to the ring on Feb. 22 at Pro Fight III in Olsztyn, Poland.

While an opponent for the KSW 6 tournament champion has not been found yet, promoter Pawel Klimkiewicz confirmed to that Materla’s teammates Karol Bedorf (heavyweight, 4-1) and Maciej Jewtuszko (welterweight, 2-0) will also see action that night. Pro Fight, along with Baltic Storm from Gdansk and the X Fights Series from Poznan, are all up-and-coming shows in Poland looking to make a name for themselves like the nation’s top dog KSW.

Irving -- the Next UK Star?

The arrival of the UFC on British soil has invigorated the UK fight scene and motivated fighters across the country to train even harder, with UFC stars Michael Bisping and Dan Hardy leading the way. But also emerging are young talents like Terry Etim and Jim Wallhead.

Another fast-rising UK welterweight is Newcastle’s Peter Irving. Despite a mixed professional record, the magpie grappler is currently on a hot streak in his home promotion Strike & Submit, where he is the European champion. In his last two bouts, he won a decision over tough-as-nails Swedish wrestler Reza Madadi and Germany’s once most promising prospect Daniel Weichel.

The stream of tough challenges for the blonde-haired Brazilian jiu-jitsu player from northeastern England will not let up as he defends his title for the third time in just eight months taking on “Brazilian Bad BoyIgor Araujo at Strike & Submit 9 on Feb. 8 in Newcastle, England.

Araujo, a Caveirinha black belt himself, recently bounced back from a short-notice loss in his UK debut against Jim Wallhead with an under-a-minute armbar victory over extremely experienced Russian fighter Vener Galiev in the Russian’s hometown. The Brazilian will certainly give Irving’s submission defense a stern test.

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