Arranged as a tribute to the troops of the US Armed Forces, the UFC’s twenty-third Fight Night event, UFC Fight for the Troops 2, takes place this Saturday on Texas soil as the world’s largest MMA organization pays a visit to Fort Hood in Killeen, TX.
Often used as a staging ground for future top UFC contenders, past fight night events have often featured many of today’s PPV headliners. In fact, fighters like Kenny Florian, Chael Sonnen, and UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar made their bones on these Spike TV cards before stepping up to title contention.
Saturday’s event offers the same challenge to headliner and former Houston, TX resident Melvin Guillard. The “Young Assassin,” fresh off three straight octagon victories looks to make good on his promise of capturing a UFC title in 2011 as he faces off against fellow top contender Evan Dunham. Out of Xtreme Couture, “3-D” Dunham is also looking for a future shot of his own after a controversial split decision loss to Sean Sherk, the first of his young career. With both guys poised for a chance at Top-five contender status in the busy UFC lightweight division, this bout could serve as a pivotal one for whoever comes out of next Saturday as the winner.
The rest of Saturday’s main card features largely unheralded fights as up-and-coming fighters look to make a name in the UFC organization. At heavyweight, always entertaining “meathead,” Matt Mitrione (3-0), makes his return against Canadian combatant Tim Hague. Also on the card is recent “Korean Zombie Conqueror” George Roop who is up against Mark Hominick at featherweight and Cole Miller, who is set to square off against Matt Wiman in a lightweight matchup. A surefire heavyweight slugfest between Pat Barry and “Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran rounds off the rest of the televised broadcast.
More interestingly for native Texans, this UFC Fight for the Troops 2 event also offers up two other fights featuring Lone Star State residents.
Set for the untelevised undercard, Austin, TX resident and Thug-Jitsu sensei Yves Edwards will be competing against quirky Canadian Guillotine Master Cody McKenzie. Edwards was originally scheduled to face the aforementioned Guillard until Kenny Florian was forced off the event and Melvin was forced to take his place in the main event. Now Edwards will face a different challenge altogether in the former TUF quarterfinalist, McKenzie.
Also on the undercard, Will Campuzano of Mt. Pleasant, Texas gets another shot at his first UFC win after falling short against Nick Pace at the TUF 12 finale. This time, he will be taking on Chris “Kamikaze “ Cariaso, a fellow WEC veteran making his UFC debut at bantamweight. Nothing like a driving through Dallas and down I-35 to prepare Campuzano for his first UFC victory.
UFC: Fight for the Troops 2 airs LIVE and FREE on Spike TC this Saturday, January 22, at 8pm CST.