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Las Vegas, Nevada – The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization returns to England this Saturday for an all-action card at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham. In the heavyweight main event, the biggest man in the UFC – 6ft 11inch Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve – collides with unbeaten uber-athlete Stipe Miocic in a fight which will catapult the winner towards the top of the division.
Also on the stacked television card, charismatic welterweight Dan “the Outlaw” Hardy fights in his historic hometown for the first time since April of 2008 when he takes on The Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah and, in what could be the most exciting all-British battle in Octagon history, elite welterweight John “Hitman” Hathaway takes on John “The One” Maguire.
At an open workout today, the combatants sounded ready to go to war.
Stefan Struve said: “Five round fight? It’s not a five round fight. This isn’t going five. It is a one or two round fight, depending on when I finish him. I am not worried about going five rounds if it happens, I hit pads for an hour at a time and every Thursday at my gym it is pretty much fight night where we do 15 x five minute rounds. I’ve changed nothing in my training. If it goes longer, okay, but I think this is a quick fight.
“A win here puts me in the top five in the world. There’s a lot of hype on this guy and he’s also coming off a big win. I’m only 24 but this is my twelfth fight in the UFC. I am going to do my business on Saturday night. I’ve been in the UFC for five years and I am really putting it together now as a mixed martial artist. I think this fight is a great showcase of what I can now do as a fighter.”
Stipe Miocic said: “This is a big fight for me, my first main event and first five-round fight. Struve is a very big guy with a long reach and great BJJ and is always dangerous, but I’ve prepared very hard. I was a NCAA Division I wrestler and Golden Gloves boxer not because I was the best athlete, but because I trained so hard. I’ve trained very hard to make sure I win this fight. Finding guys who are 6ft 11inches to spar with is hard but I did train with (former UFC champion) Tim Sylvia and I know I can get past Struve’s reach and land my punches. I expect a tough fight – there’s a lot on the line for both of us.”
Dan “the Outlaw” Hardy said: “The last time I fought in my hometown was April 2008 and this is obviously a vast difference. The last time I fought here the only people in the world who knew about it were in the arena, about 700 people, and now this is going to be broadcast worldwide with the UFC. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to fight in Nottingham again but when Dana White announced the UFC were going to Nottingham, obviously I was expecting a call.
“There is pressure on me to win and score a KO because I’ll have hundreds of people in the arena on Saturday night I’ve known for years. But nothing, nothing will compare pressure-wise to my last fight against Duane Ludwig where my UFC career was on the line. Now I am just taking it one fight at a time and am back to enjoying fighting rather than worry about this being my job.
“Amir is a tough guy, he will push the fight on me and he’s got a great chin. He’s going to push this very hard and bring a war. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, and I am confident that is enough.
“After resting the track last time, I’m walking out to ‘England Belongs To Me’ by Cock Sparrer again. I’ve gone back to the original recording from the 1970s, not the 2010 one they did with me on backing vocals. I lost four times in the UFC after walking out to that version, which obvious is karma for my poor singing.”
Amir Sadollah said: “I enjoy going against fighters that are aggressive. The more passive fighters aren’t as fun to fight. Dan Hardy is a counter-puncher but he’s aggressive with it. I will be able to draw him in. All the pressure is on him to make this a great fight for his own fans here. He’s under a lot of pressure, not me.”
John Hathaway said: “This is a dangerous fight for me. I think some people only know him from his UFC career but John has fought all over the world and is actually more experienced than I am. I’m not overlooking him at all. I really want to show what I can do in this fight. Everyone saw the best of me against Diego Sanchez but I think I am a much better fighter now. I’ve been in the UFC since UFC 93 (January 2009) and I’m still only 25 years old; I think I’ve got the right mix of big-fight experience while still being at the top of my game physically. I’ve learned a style which suits my body-type and I think the next two years are where I’m going to really make a mark in the division.
“Fights between two Brits are usually great, I remember Mike Bisping and Ross Pointon had a great one on TUF 3, Paul Taylor and Paul Kelly had the fight of the night (at UFC 80) and I beat Taylor in a good battle at UFC 105. I expect me and John to be another great all-British battle.”
John Maguire said: “The funny thing was, a few weeks before the fight was even mentioned, I was doing a photo shoot with John and we talked about whether we would ever fight. And then all of a sudden, we’ve got each other next. We’re ranked pretty close together, and you face who is put in front of you. He agreed and I agreed. I’m a fighter and I’ll fight whoever is in front of me and the thing with me and Hathaway, it makes sense. We’re both high up, and victory moves one of us forward a bit up the ranks.”
The six-fight UFC on FUEL TV card will be broadcast live on FUEL TV this Saturday at 1pm PT/4pm ET in the US and at 9pm on ESPN in the UK.
For more information or current fight news, visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.