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UFC

UFC invades Chicago with tripleheader

The Ultimate Fighting Championship® invades the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 28 for its second network television event on FOX with an ultimate tripleheader. In the night’s main event, former light heavyweight champion “Suga” Rashad Evans takes on undefeated former national champion wrestler Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis to determine the next challenger to the 205-pound title.

Plus, in the night’s co-main event, controversial middleweight contender Chael Sonnen battles the red-hot Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz for the right to fight champion Anderson Silva. If that wasn’t enough, British star Michael “The Count” Bisping looks to earn a future crack at the middleweight title when he locks horns with dangerous grappler Demian Maia.

This outstanding two-hour broadcast airs live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

History was made when the UFC® debuted on FOX in November, as 5.7 million viewers (8.8 million peak) tuned in to watch Cain Velasquez battle Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight title. Now, fight fans around the world can gear up for another incredible night of action inside the Octagon® live on FOX.

“This is the show that officially starts our deal with FOX and we’re bringing what the fans want – a night packed with great fights,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’re kicking this thing off with an incredible tripleheader. Rashad Evans looked fantastic in his last fight against Tito Ortiz and he wants to get the belt back. But Phil Davis is no joke. He’s undefeated at 9-0 and has stormed through guys like Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson and Rogerio Nogueira. He wants the title shot just as bad as Rashad.

“Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz are going to collide to see who gets the next crack at Anderson Silva,” White continued. “Both of these guys are phenomenal wrestlers coming off big wins. Chael wants the chance to avenge his loss to Anderson. Mark wants a chance to prove that he’s the best 185-pounder in the world. Plus, we’ve got Michael Bisping against Demian Maia and the winner will be next in line for a title shot after the winner of Sonnen-Munoz.”

Tickets for UFC® on FOX are priced at $250, $150, $100, $75, $50, and $40, and go on sale to the public on Friday, Dec. 9 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 the United Center Box Office.

UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m CT via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Dec. 8, starting at 10 a.m. CT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

Former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) has made it clear that he wants a chance to dethrone reigning champion Jon Jones in 2012. Before that can happen, he looks to extend his winning streak to four when he meets “Mr. Wonderful” in a No. 1 contender fight at the United Center. The 32-year-old Evans (21-1-1) dismantled Tito Ortiz in his last fight in August and believes a win over Davis will secure him the highly-coveted shot at the 205-pound title.

“Some people may say I’m already the No. 1 contender, but I’m a fighter not a critic and I will go through anybody who stands in my way until I got a shot at the UFC title,” Evans said. “Having the opportunity to prove that I’m the top contender in the division on FOX – the biggest stage there is – is just icing on the cake. I will leave no doubt that I’m the top guy in the light heavyweight division after my fight on FOX.”

Phil Davis (fighting out of San Diego, Calif.), 27, is arguably one of the fastest-rising stars in the sport thanks to an undefeated mark of 9-0, including five victories inside the Octagon®. Originally scheduled to fight Evans at UFC 133 before an injury forced his withdrawal, the former national champion wrestler at Penn State University is pleased the stars finally aligned for his much anticipated collision with the former champion.

“I am excited to be a part of the UFC on FOX in Chicago,” Davis said. “I was pretty upset when the fight with Rashad didn’t happen in August. I am ready for him now. He is one of the best guys in the world. I can’t wait and I’m confident that I’m going to win.”

Chael Sonnen (fighting out of West Linn, Ore.) continues his quest for a rematch with Anderson Silva on Jan. 28 when he meets Munoz on FOX. Following a loss to the champion in 2010, Sonnen returned to the Octagon® at UFC 136 and submitted the surging Brian Stann. He now faces Munoz, an opponent he once met in college while wrestling for the University of Oregon.

“This is competition between Mark Munoz and me,” Sonnen said. “We competed before, we will compete again. And when it is done, it will be one more in the win column, one more trophy above the mantle, and one more for the bad guy.”

Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz (fighting out of Vallejo, Calif.) heads to Chicago fresh off a dominant stoppage victory over Chris Leben in the main event of UFC 138 in England in November. A winner of four straight, the former Division I national champion wrestler from Oklahoma State University now has his sights set on besting his friend turned temporary foe, Sonnen.

“Chael and I are friends and will remain friends long after this fight,” the 33-year-old Munoz said. “But make no mistake, when that cage door closes we will not hold back. We will show the world why we are the best at what we do.”

After battering Jason “Mayhem” Miller on Dec. 3, Michael Bisping (fighting out of Manchester, England) firmly believes that his time to fight for the middleweight title is approaching. A winner of four consecutive fights, including the last two by knockout, the 32-year-old leaves no doubt that his clash with Maia is the most important of his career.

“It is a huge honor to fight on American national television on FOX,” Bisping, owner of a 23-3 record said. “Going straight back into camp, missing Christmas, none of that even entered my mind. I want to earn my way to a title shot and fighting a former No. 1 challenger as dangerous as Maia is exactly the opportunity I have been hoping for. This is the most crucial fight of my life.”

Grappling sensation Demian Maia (fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) has won two out of his last three bouts since dropping a decision to champion Silva in Abu Dhabi in 2010. The 34-year-old, who is a two-time world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, has defeated high-caliber opponents such as Sonnen, Jorge Santiago, Kendall Grove and Dan Miller. When he meets Bisping next month, he knows that a win will put him right back into the title picture.

“I think Michael Bisping is a great fighter and will be one of the hardest fights I ever had,” Maia, 15-3, said. “Some people underrate him, but I think I can never underestimate him. I consider him one of the top contenders at middleweight. He is someone with only three losses in over 20 fights, with one of those losses coming to Rashad in a higher weight class. It shows how tough he is and the challenge that is ahead of me. I’m also very excited to be fighting in Chicago for the first time, a city where I spent part of some of my last training camps, and where I have a lot of friends. If that was not enough, on top of all that, fighting on FOX is a huge opportunity.”
For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com. All bouts live and subject to change.

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. UFC content is distributed commercially through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. In 2012, FOX will broadcast four fights annually. In spring 2012, The Ultimate Fighter®, UFC’s signature weekly reality TV show debuts on FX. Globally, UFC programming is broadcast in over 149 countries and territories, reaching a half a billion homes worldwide, in 20 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 six million fans on Facebook and more than 400,000 followers on Twitter. In addition, UFC President Dana White is one of the most accessible and most followed executives in sports with more than 1.7 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 bimonthly 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 the United Center
The United Center is a state-of-the-art, 960,000 square-foot multi-use entertainment facility that has welcomed over 30 million fans since opening in 1994. Home of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association, the United Center hosts over 200 events each year, including the best musical performers, sporting events, family shows, and special events in the industry. A commitment to superior service makes the United Center one of the top venues in the world.

For more information, visit www.unitedcenter.com.

About FOX Sports Media Group
FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets under Chairman & CEO David Hill. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox’s 19 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and Fox College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises FOXSports.com on MSN, whatifsports.com and scout.com, reaching almost 30 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are Fox’s interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network.
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