Jon “Bones” Jones will attempt to continue his meteoric rise within the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division when he steps into the Octagon® to face veteran fighter Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko at UFC LIVE on VERSUS, live from the San Diego Sports Arena. “Bones” Jones defeated Brandon Vera in March to improve his record to 10-1, while Matyushenko has been victorious in his last two fights since his return to the UFC. The main event will be supplemented by riveting matchups featuring various stars such as Mark Munoz, Yushin Okami, John Howard, Jake Ellenberger, Takanori Gomi and Tyson Griffin. The fights will air live on VERSUS at 9 p.m. ET, marking the second time a UFC event will be televised on a national sports cable network.
UFC LIVE on VERSUS will feature the following matchups: Mark Munoz vs. Yushin Okami, John Howard vs. Jake Ellenberger, Takanori Gomi vs. Tyson Griffin, Paul Kelly vs. Jacob Volkmann, DaMarques Johnson vs. Matthew Riddle, James Irvin vs. Igor Pokrajac, Brian Stann vs. Mike Massenzio, Thiago Tavares vs. Willamy Freire, Darren Elkins vs. Charles Oliveira, Rob Kimmons vs. Steve Steinbeiss.
Tickets for UFC LIVE on VERSUS are on sale and are available for purchase at www.tickethorse.com and the Pepsi Center Box Office.
The prelude to the main event features Mark Munoz (fighting out of Vallejo, Calif./8-1), winner of five of his last six fights, including three in a row over the likes of Ryan Jensen and Kendall Grove. With a background in wrestling, the heavy-handed fighter also has knockout power to coincide with a well-versed ground game which could prove dangerous for his opponent Yushin “Thunder” Okami (fighting out of Kanagawa, Japan/25-5). The veteran fighter out of Japan has been victorious in eight of his ten fights within the UFC. One of the most physically imposing fighters at 185-pounds, Okami will be a true test for his latest opponent.
A boxing background has been beneficial for Boston native John Howard (fighting out of Boston, Mass./14-4) while in the UFC. His last two victories have come via knockout, most recently against Daniel Roberts at the first UFC on Versus. Overall, this welterweight fighter is undefeated in his UFC career, but Jake Ellenberger (fighting out of Omaha, Neb./22-5) will try to tarnish that record. A recent addition to the UFC, the native from the Cornhusker State scored a TKO over Mike Pyle at UFC 108, just 22 seconds into the second round. Ellenberger’s granite chin and heavy hands will guide him in this welterweight matchup.
Former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi (fighting out of Tokyo, Japan/31-6) will make his second appearance in the UFC after his slugfest with Kenny Florian at UFC Fight Night in March of 2010. The accomplished wrestler has a terrific ground game, complemented by tremendous knockout power. Standing across the Octagon from Gomi will be Tyson Griffin (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev./14-3). The native of Sacramento, California employs an aggressive ground and pound attack, which should match up well with Gomi’s wrestling background. The winner of six of his last eight fights, Griffin looks to get back in the title race with a win over “The Fireball Kid”.
The toughness and conditioning of Paul Kelly (fighting out of Liverpool, England/11-2) has never been questioned, as half of his six fights within the UFC have gone the distance and each time, Kelly has been the unanimous victor. Kelly has excelled at the ground and pound, which will be tested against Jacob Volkmann (fighting out of White Bear Lake, Minn./10-2), who has a stellar wrestling background. The former Big Ten wrestling champion most recently won a split decision over Ronys Torres at UFC Fight Night in March, after consecutive battles with Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann.
The versatile DaMarques Johnson (fighting out of Salt Lake City, Utah/16-7) is on a two fight win streak within the UFC, defeating Edgar Garcia and Brad Blackburn via submission and TKO, respectively. The Utah native faces a tough matchup with Matthew Riddle (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev./4-1), who has had all of his professional fights within the UFC. A wrestling background, with a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has helped this young fighter excel inside the Octagon.
A veteran fighter who has fought in both the UFC and WEC, James “The Sandman” Irvin (fighting out of Sacramento, Calif./14-6, 1 NC) doesn’t often spend much time in the Octagon during his fights. Of his 13 fights between the two organizations, nine have ended in the first round. His matchup against Igor Pokrajac (fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia/21-7) is important for both fighters, as they are both in need of a victory. A top-10 fighter on the European scene, Pokrajac is coming off hard-fought scraps against Vladimir Matyushenko and James Te Huna.
Former WEC light heavyweight champion Brian Stann (fighting out of Scranton, Pa./8-3) began developing his combative mindset as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps. Stann has won two of his last three fights within the UFC and plans to make it three out of four against former National junior college wrestling champion Mike Massenzio (fighting out of Paterson, N.J./11-3). The well-rounded New Jersey native has not fought in the UFC since 2008, but Massenzio will utilize his brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to prolong his stay within the organization.
Brazil native Thiago Tavares (fighting out of Florianopolis, Brazil/18-3-1) has four wins in the UFC and has battled some of the elite names in lightweight division such as Tyson Griffin, Matt Wiman, and Kurt Pellegrino. On August 1st, he battles Willamy “Chiquerim” Freire (fighting out of Fortaleza, Brazil/17-3). Making his UFC debut, the fighter out of Brazil has won eleven consecutive fights, five by submission. The young fighter has had twenty professional fights and he has finished 13 of them.
The first lightweight matchup for UFC on VERSUS features two rising stars as Darren Elkins (fighting out of Hobart, Ind./12-1) will face Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil/12-0). Elkins made his debut in March for the premiere of UFC on VERSUS and was victorious over Duane Ludwig via TKO stoppage. Oliveira will make his debut for the UFC after amassing a tremendous unbeaten professional record.
The first fight of the evening features Rob Kimmons (fighting out of Liberty, Mo./22-5) who is a 3rd degree black belt in American jiu-jitsu. The Kansas City native has won two of his last four fights in the UFC and will be tested when he faces Steve Steinbeiss (fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz./4-3) on August 1st. Steinbeiss is a durable fighter with speed and power who is seeking his first victory in the UFC.
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