Following the formula from past runs, it looks like the UFC will indeed be having Ultimate Fighter 16 coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin collide at a live event capping off the current season rather than a PPV down the road. Their bout was one of five confirmed this week by the UFC, indicating Carwin’s injured knee is healing as expected and Nelson will not be pegged to replace Frank Mir in a match-up with Strikeforce’s Daniel Cormier.
The rivalry between Carwin and Nelson has been well-documented with neither having a great deal of respect for the other on a personal level. Carwin is 12-2 but has been sidelined for an extended period of time with a series of injuries. However, he remains one of the division’s hardest hitting fighters and is a threat to knock any opponent out. Interestingly enough, “Big Country” has only been KO’d a single time in his career while racking up seventeen wins along the way.
Also announced for the December 15 lineup were bouts between Johnny Bedford-Marcos Vinicius, Hugo Viana-Reuben Duran, Rustam Khabilov-Vinc Pichel, and Mike Pyle-James Head. Additionally, the card will of course feature the last two men standing on TUF 16 facing off for the right be named the season’s champion.
Pyle (23-8-1) and Head (9-2) will both be going for a third straight win come showtime. The former was last seen picking up an opening round knockout over Josh Neer a few months back, while the latter has looked sharp since dropping down to welterweight where he’s beaten Papy Abedi and Brian Ebersole.
Bedford has been out of action since beating Louis Gaudinot via TKO more than a year ago. He holds an overall mark of 18-9-1 with fourteen finishes. Meanwhile, the 20-3-1 Vinicius will be fighting under the UFC banner for the second time since his stint on TUF Brasil. Impressively, all 20 of his wins have involved some form of finish.
Duran improved his record to 1-1 in the Octagon with a submission win Franciso Rivera in June 2011 but hasn’t fought since, while Viana (better know as “Hugo Wolverine” due to his hairstyle mimicking the superhero’s) is unbeaten thus far in his career including a win in his UFC debut this past summer.
The 14-1 Khabilov is the latest Russian fighter to join the UFC’s roster, riding a three-fight winning streak including an outpointing of promotional veteran Jason Dent in his last outing. Pichel is 6-0 professionally and will also be unveiled officially at the show despite some previous exposure as a member of the Ultimate Fighter 15 cast.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC