The Octagon® returns to Omaha, Neb. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship® presents an intense welterweight bout between top contenders Diego Sanchez and Omaha native Jake Ellenberger. Sanchez, the season one winner of The Ultimate Fighter®, and Ellenberger, a winner of five straight, will collide at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. It will be the first UFC main card featured live on FUEL TV, as a part of a three-hour broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
FUEL TV will begin the night with a one-hour Pre-Fight show starting at 7 p.m ET/4 p.m. PT and will wrap the night with a one-hour Post-Fight show at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. Coverage of the fight kicks off on FUEL TV February 14 with the live Weigh-ins at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
In addition to the three-round, welterweight main event, UFC® on FUEL TV will feature a pair of exciting heavyweight bouts, as 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve battles the hard-hitting Dave Herman, while Stipe Miocic meets Phil De Fries in a bout between two unbeaten rising stars.
“The welterweight division is stacked with contenders and Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger want to prove that they deserve a shot at the title,” UFC President Dana White said. “Diego is known as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and Jake has knocked out four out of his last five opponents. This is a great fight for the fans in Omaha and it’s going to make for an awesome main event on FUEL TV.”
Tickets for UFC® on FUEL TV are priced at $150, $100, $75, $50, and $35, and go on sale to the public on Friday, Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. CT. Tickets will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at ticketmaster.com and charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at CenturyLink Center Omaha box office.
A special internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Jan. 5, starting at 10 a.m. CT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.
Diego “The Dream” Sanchez (fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) first made a name for himself as an aggressive, free-swinging contestant on season one of The Ultimate Fighter® nearly seven years ago. Today, Sanchez (25-4) remains one of the most exciting competitors in the UFC and he’ll look to extend his winning streak to three in Omaha. With a chance to move firmly into the 170-pound title picture, the 30-year-old sees 2012 as his year to capture a UFC title.
“I am expecting an electric atmosphere for my fight against Jake Ellenberger in the UFC on FUEL TV card,” Sanchez said. “Not only is Omaha in the heart of some of the best wrestling in the U.S., but it is also Ellenberger’s home. I have never been more ready for a fight in my career. Fans are going to see a focused and well-rounded Diego Sanchez stepping into the Octagon. I promise they will like what they see.”
Fresh off a devastating knockout win over former title challenger Jake Shields in just 53 seconds last Sept., Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (fighting out of Omaha, Neb.) looks to extend his winning streak to six in his native Omaha when he fights Sanchez. A training partner of top middleweight Mark Munoz, the 26-year-old Ellenberger (26-5) owns wins over Shields, Sean Pierson, Carlos Eduardo Rocha, John Howard and Mike Pyle in his UFC career. His collision with Sanchez on Feb. 15 is one he believes will propel him into top contender status.
“Sanchez has fought a lot of great fighters and he brings a lot of good tools to the table, but he won’t beat me,” Ellenberger said. “I’ve always prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I always look to finish fights as fast as I can, just being prepared as I can. But I can see a TKO in the first or second round.”
In his last trip to the Octagon, Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (fighting out of Beverwiijk, The Netherlands) submitted Pat Barry in dramatic fashion to earn the highly-coveted Submission of the Night bonus. Looking to make it two in a row, the 6-foot-11, 235-pound Dutchman now has his sights set on a dominant finish in Nebraska. Still, the 23-year-old Struve (26-5) knows he must be wary of the finishing ability of his heavy-handed opponent.
“I think I’m the more technical striker,” Struve said. “He’s got KO power, but he still has to prove that against higher caliber fighters. Maybe his wrestling is better, but if he wants to take me down, he’s gonna have to work from my guard.”
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 242 pounds, heavyweight Dave Herman (fighting out of Temecula, Calif.) has been fortunate enough to train alongside former PRIDE® and STRIKEFORCE® champion Dan Henderson. The insight from “Hendo” has certainly paid off, as the 27-year-old has amassed a 21-2 record, including a knockout win over John-Olav Einemo in his UFC debut in June. He’ll look to continue his ascent when he meets the battle-tested Struve at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
“He is good striker, with a long reach and long legs,” Herman said. “But I’ve been training at Team Quest in Temecula, one of the best MMA teams in the world, and with Daniel Woirin, whom I believe is the best Muay Thai coach in the world. I will be in the best shape of my career for this fight. I will be ready.”
A bout between unbeaten heavyweights Stipe Miocic (fighting out of Euclid, Ohio) and Phil De Fries (fighting out of Sunderland, England) will also take place in the Cornhusker State. The 29-year-old Miocic (7-0) made his UFC debut at UFC 136, besting hard-nosed heavyweight Joey Beltran. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old De Fries (8-0, 1 NC) kicked off his UFC career at UFC 138 in November by defeating the durable Rob Broughton. In February, the two will lock horns in a darkhorse candidate for Fight of the Night.
Additional bouts will be announced at www.ufc.com in the weeks to come. All bouts live and subject to change.
For a complete listing of FUEL TV shows, go to: http://www.fuel.tv/schedule. For more information, go to www.fuel.tv and www.fuel.tv/ufc. To find FUEL TV on your television, go to www.fuel.tv/getfueltv, or call 877.4FUEL-TV.
About Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® is the world’s premier MMA organization and produces over 12 UFC live Pay-Per-View events annually around the globe. This year, FOX will broadcast four fights annually. In spring 2012, The Ultimate Fighter®, UFC’s signature weekly reality TV show, debuts on FX. UFC content is also distributed commercially to bars and restaurants through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. Globally, UFC programming is broadcast in 150 countries, territories and jurisdictions, reaching over one billion homes worldwide, in 21 different languages.
UFC® also boasts a powerful presence online, with UFC.com attracting over seven million unique visitors per month, while also possessing one of the most powerful social media followings in all of professional sports. To date, UFC has over seven million fans on Facebook and over 460,000 followers on Twitter. In addition, UFC President Dana White is one of the most accessible and most followed executives in sports with more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter. On January 22, 2011, UFC continued to set trends in social media, becoming the first major sports league to stream live, broadcast quality action on Facebook.
Ancillary businesses include best-selling DVDs, a magazine, the best-selling UFC “Undisputed” videogame franchise distributed by THQ, UFC GYM®, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo® festivals, branded apparel, trading cards, and articulated action figures.
About Omaha Civic Auditorium
From Elvis to Prince, national political debates to famous boxing matches, the Omaha Civic Auditorium has seen it all. Opening in 1954 as Omaha’s first arena and convention center, the facility continues to host sports, concerts, special events, trade shows, exhibitions and more. The Omaha Civic Auditorium home teams include the USHL Omaha Lancers Hockey Team and the IFL Omaha Beef Indoor Football Team. The facility is owned by the City of Omaha and managed by the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority.
About FUEL TV
FUEL TV is the only cable and satellite television network that features the exciting world of adrenaline and thrill-seeking sports including MMA, surfing, motocross, snowboarding, skateboarding BMX, wakeboarding and more. This new generation of sports provides a rich landscape of some of the most vibrant and action-packed television entertainment in the world. With more hours of UFC coverage than any other network, FUEL TV is the place to be for live fights, weigh-ins, prelims, pre- and post-fight coverage, specials and events you won’t see anywhere else. See why adrenaline sports fans call FUEL TV the channel they never turn off. FUEL TV, part of FOX Sports Media Group, was launched July 1, 2003 and is seen in more than 36 million U.S. homes and can be accessed by broadband, mobile devices and other digital platforms such as iTunes®. FUEL TV programming is available in more than 50 countries around the world with 24/7 channels operating in Australia and Europe. To subscribe to FUEL TV, call 877-4-FUEL-TV. For program times and other information, visit www.fuel.tv.
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