With Heavyweight Title Added,pot Sweetens For Ufc 48 Sylvia-mir Face-off
With Heavyweight Title Added,
Pot Sweetens for UFC 48 Sylvia-Mir Face-Off
By Loretta Hunt
Determined to crown a heavyweight champion come hell or high water, Zuffa officially announced yesterday that UFC 48’s pending co-main event matching former champion Tim Sylvia against contender Frank Mir will be for the vacant UFC heavyweight title.
One unsuccessful attempt had already been made to fill the position at the promotion’s last event, where Sylvia was scheduled to fight Belarusian Andrei Arlovski for the accolade as well. But, Sylvia could not secure licensing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission after a pre-fight steroid test found minuscule amounts of the illegal compound still in his system. The reading is believed to have dated back to Sylvia’s initial use of the performance enhancing drug early last year which eventually lead to his suspension following his first title defense at UFC 44. Sylvia voluntarily renounced the crown last October and the heavyweight throne has remained void ever since.
Following last month’s highly-touted UFC 47, word circulated that the winner of Sylvia-Mir would move on to face Arlovski for a shot at the division’s top honors. The title upgrade was a pleasant surprise according to both men. "Actually, I was under the impression that everyone else was — that Tim and I were gonna fight, but it would be a non-title fight," commented Mir between training at his homebase, the Las Vegas Combat Club. Like Sylvia, Mir says he was notified of the news last week when he signed his bout agreement. "It’s motivating to know that it’s one step away from reaching a goal most people don’t, "the Ricardo Pires Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt adds. "It gives a little more inspiration to train."
24-year old Mir has been waiting patiently for the opportunity to fight for the title since it was first offered to him back in September as UFC 45’s proposed main event. But, when the fight dissolved, Mir had to take a bout in the interim, a rematch versus Hammer House stomper Wes Sims at UFC 46. Mir went on to knock out the 6’8" giant in the second round.
With Sylvia, the submission savvy heavyweight hints the result may be quite different. "I know that on the ground, the advantage is definitely in my favor. I can’t see that for five rounds we’re not going to hit the ground one time," he proposes. Sylvia, a towering figure as well at 6’8" and recognized for his heavy hands and his formidable reach, has his own take on things. "He’s really good at submissions. We all know that," the Miletich Martial Arts fighter relayed from his Iowa home last night. "But, his heart is questionable, his endurance is questionable. I feel he’s got no stand-up and no wrestling ability. I’m gonna knock him out, I imagine in the first."
Meanwhile, the third component of this heavyweight triangle, Andrei Arlovski, is riding high on his recent stand-up annihilation of hard-nosed Hawaiian Wesley "Cabbage" Corriera, a last-minute pairing added to 47’s card. Arlovski’s management stated yesterday that "the Pitbull" did not break his hand in the fight as was earlier rumored, and is making plans to travel home to Russia for two months to visit with family and friends. His reps added that Arlovski is unaffected by the recent title developments knowing that regardless, he will get his own turn at the heavyweight crown, possibly for October’s proposed UFC 49.
From the event’s promoter:
Horn-Stout Bout Headlines
Extreme Challenge 57
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — It has been three years since Jeremy Horn fought near his hometown of Omaha.
Since that time, he has emerged as one of the top fighters in all of mixed martial arts, going 22-2-1 and earning the No. 2 ranking in the world at 185 pounds.
On May 6, Horn will return to Harrah’s Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to face fellow UFC veteran Curtis Stout in the main event of Extreme Challenge 57.
"It is always difficult to get top fighters to step up and fight Horn outside of the UFC or Pride," promoter Monte Cox said. "Stout is one of the Midwest’s top talents at 185 and he jumped at the chance to face a legend."
Stout is 7-3 and on a four-fight win streak. He is no stranger to top competition, having faced Phil Baroni in the UFC and Russian star Andre Semenov.
Horn is a 7-time UFC veteran and 2-time Pride fighter. He has close to 100 victories in his career and has emerged as possibly the world’s top fighter at 185.
The 11-bout card also features 3-time UFC veteran Andre Roberts of Tama, Iowa, who will return to the cage against Gabe Beauperthuy of Colorado Springs. Roberts, who weighes 360 pounds, has an impressive 13-1 record.
A battle of top Midwest 170 pounders pits Josh Neer against Kyle Jensen in a feature bout. And, Omaha native Mike Radnov also returns home to face Chris Geschke of Minneapolis. Shannon "the Cannon" Ritch goes for his fourth straight win when he faces Dan Anderson.
Doors open at 7 p.m., first bout at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Harrah’s Casino