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29 January 2012

MMA And Pro Wrestling News: UFC Returns To Sydney, Australia In March 2012; WWE News, CM Punk

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The rough and tough MMA based sport of UFC has announced its return to Sydney for 3rd March 2012.

Your main event will be a welterweight match-up between Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann inside the octagon at a hopefully jam packed Allphones Arena.

The exciting MMA card will also feature the debut of the UFC’s flyweight division with a two-bout tourney to decide the top contenders at 125-pounds (56.7kg).

Tickets are now on sale, and we understand, selling fast, but not quite as quick as the past two Australian tours we've been leaked.

UFC Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik advised the UFC was wrapt to return to Sydney for its third live event in as many years.

"We’ve had tremendous success with our two previous events, with last year’s UFC 127 remaining the equal fastest sell-out in the organisation’s history," he said.

"I’ve got no doubt that our Aussie fans will be just as excited about our March event, especially as they’ll witness UFC history with the introduction of the flyweight division. The 125-pound contenders will absolutely put everything on the line is Sydney, knowing that the winners of those two bouts will then have a shot at the inaugural flyweight title. It’s going to be a great show."

Zelaznik said on the upcoming Australian tour: “Thiago Alves and Martin Kampmann are two seasoned mixed martial artists who are sure to go to all out in the octagon. Both athletes are coming off recent wins and will be looking to continue their streak to climb the welterweight ladder.”

Insiders will already know that just off his first round beat-up of UFC newcomer Papy Abedi at UFC 139, Thiago Alves (24-7) has returned once again in strong form that has previously seen him rampage through the welterweight division with wins over UFC greats such as Chris Lytle, Matt Hughes and Josh Koschek, before challenging for the welterweight title in July 2009.

Martin Kampmann (18-5) is looking to reinforce his unanimous decision win at UFC 139 over up-and-coming welterweight Rick ‘The Horror’ Story when he faces of against Alves in the Octagon on Australian soil. Whose face gets rubbed in the dirt er soil, remains to be seen.

The Dane has formidable knock-out power and an underrated ground strategy that has seen him score victory in 9 of his 12 fights in the Octagon, including bests over Carlos Condit, Jorge Rivera and Paulo Thiago.

In the flyweight division, ex No.1 WEC bantamweight contender Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson (14-2) will go against the recently crowned Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champion, Ian McCall (11-2), while Joseph Benavidez (15-2) will challenge Japanese competitor, Shooto champ Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-4-6) in the weight division’s two semi-finals.

UFC / WWE Scoops...

Brock Lesnar May return to WWE

Potential opponents are rumoured to be The Undertaker and the recently returned, Chris Jericho (also a rumoured opponent at WWE WrestleMania against CM Punk)

WWE interested in former U.S Olympic wrestling superstar Kurt Angle for Royal Rumble; Angle says he's staying loyal to Impact Wrestling; Angle won't rule out UFC at some point.


CM Punk Talks UFC via MMA Fighting and more...

WWE star CM Punk appeared on "The MMA Hour" with Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting. The highlights...

-Helwani introduced Punk and noted that he received a lot of heat for having him on as a guest because some people don't want any crossover. Punk noted that pro wrestlers are doing submission holds they've picked up for MMA, and noted that Alberto Del Rio battled Mirko CroCop.

-Helwani mentioned Triple H's comments about UFC needing to evolve more than WWE. "I think that's absolutely insane," Punk said. He said every sport or business needs to evolve. "Pro wrestling has, in my opinion, a lot of work to do," Punk said. He said he's spoken with Triple H numerous times about MMA. "He just doesn't get it," Punk said. "He doesn't watch it either. I think it's just an education thing. Saying UFC has to evolve, I guess he's not wrong, but he's missing the big picture that UFC is evolving."

-Punk was quizzed whether MMA has hurt the pro wrestling business. "Well, it hasn't helped," he said. "To deny that UFC isn't our competition is ridiculous." He added that everything from Cirque du Soleil to television shows such as "Breaking Bad" are competition to WWE.

-Helwani probed whether it surprises Punk that WWE hasn't looked at MMA to see things they can emulate. Punk said he's a wrestling guy and he believes it is a sport. "I'm a fan," Punk said. "I would love to see clean finishes, less run-ins, and I'd like to see wins and losses matter... Those are things that are based in reality." He questioned why guys get title shots time after time when they are losing. He said there are certain things that could be tightened up in that regard.

-Punk said some days are better than others when it comes to travel. He said some top guys have buses they travel in. He said he's getting to the point where he's considering that possibility. He said he enjoys traveling and the challenge of living on the road, but he said he would like to be at home for six months just to see what it was like. He added that he would probably go nuts seven days in.

-Punk advised he became an MMA fan early on going back to the first or second UFC event. He said he and his friend were hooked. He said Dan Henderson is probably his favorite wrestler.

-Punk said the last UFC event he watched live was Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez. He said he doesn't go out to find the shows when he's on the road. He said he despises Hooters, and doesn't think it would end well if a pro wrestler went to watch an MMA show with drunk people who want to prove something in the room.

-Punk was asked about the Brock Lesnar and Undertaker confrontation. He said he thinks he knows more about that situation than most people. He thought it was fantastic that two guys could exchange a glance at get the sports world talking. Punk said Dana White will never allow Brock Lesnar to get a WrestleMania payday while he's under UFC contract.

-Helwani asked Punk who he will face at WrestleMania 28. Punk said he doesn't know who he will face tonight on Raw because things change every three minutes. Punk said he would like to face Steve Austin, and joked that Austin would never duck a challenge. "As far as who I am actually wrestling at WrestleMania, I could tell you and it would probably change 162 times today."

MMA fans, that's a wrap.

As per usual, Australian fans who don't attend the matches in person can tune into Main Event TV on Foxtel.

UFC SYDNEY 2012 EVENT DATE:
Saturday 3 March - Allphones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park

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