Michihiro Omigawa | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
After appearances on the Web and Ion Television, the “UFC Prelims” special will return to Spike TV on Feb. 5, as the cable network will broadcast a pair of undercard bouts prior to the UFC 126 pay-per-view broadcast.
Spike will air a featherweight duel between Michihiro Omigawa and Chad Mendes, as well as a lightweight scrap featuring Donald Cerrone and Paul Kelly. The broadcast, which was first reported by MMAJunkie.com, is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, one hour before the pay-per-view. Sherdog.com confirmed the scheduled bouts Tuesday with sources close to the event.
Omigawa makes his return to the UFC at featherweight following a winless two-fight lightweight run with the promotion in 2007-2008. Since that time, the judoka has proven himself one of the world’s top 145-pounders, winning eight of his last nine fights against tough competition. Omigawa is a veteran of both Sengoku and Dream and holds notable victories over Nam Phan, Marlon Sandro and Hatsu Hioki.
Undefeated in his professional career, Mendes went 4-0 in the WEC before the promotion merged with the UFC. Most recently, the young buck rode out a unanimous decision over veteran Javier Vazquez at WEC 52 in November. The Team Alpha Male representative holds five of his nine career wins by decision.
Cerrone has been on a roll of late, winning back-to-back contests in the latter part of 2010. The “Cowboy” used a vastly improved wrestling game to dominate former lightweight champion Jamie Varner in their rematch at WEC 51, and most recently dispatched of International Fight League veteran Chris Horodecki with a second-round triangle choke at WEC 53.
An eight-time UFC veteran, Kelly has gone 3-2 since debuting at lightweight in the promotion. The Brit holds victories over Matt Veach, Troy Mandaloniz and countryman Paul Taylor, and has been bested by German striker Dennis Siver and skilled wrestler Jacob Volkmann. Most recently, Kelly earned a TKO victory against T.J. O’Brien at UFC 123 in November.
Set to take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, UFC 126 will be headlined by a middleweight title clash between longtime champion Anderson Silva and resurgent challenger Vitor Belfort. Additionally, two important light heavyweight bouts will be contested, as former champions Forest Griffin and Rich Franklin square off, and up-and-comers Jon Jones and Ryan Bader lock horns on the main card.