One of the original 'Ultimate Fighters' is coming to Sydney next month, Yahoo! 7 can exclusively reveal.
Stephan Bonnar – whose 2005 mixed martial arts bout with Forrest Griffin is widely credited as the genesis of the modern UFC phenomenon, will fight Canadian Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 110 at the already sold out Acer Arena on February 21.
Speaking to Yahoo!7, the 32-year-old said: "It's pretty cool to get the chance to fight in Australia. I've never actually been there before, so this should be exciting. I am looking forward to the fight, and also to hanging out afterwards. Everyone I know who has been there says Sydney is an awesome place and I am looking forward to it."
The 6ft 4inch American, who has a pro record of 14 wins and 6 losses, is a big name on the UFC circuit following his 2005 appearance on the organisation's own reality TV series 'The Ultimate Fighter'. The series took 16 unknown fighters and, over the course of a series, pitted them against each other until only Bonnar and an ex-policeman named Forrest Griffin remained to fight for a six-figure contract with the UFC.
Their three round bout took place in April 2005 in Las Vegas. Both men gave their all to secure their dream of UFC stardom, but, in the end, it was Griffin who had his arm raised once the judges’ rendered their verdict.
But UFC President Dana White entered the Octagon and offered an identical six-figure contract to Bonnar. Even better news was to come when the US TV ratings came in, as the fight was the most-watched UFC bout in history up to that point.
It was the start of a surge in popularity which continues to this day; all 16,500 tickets to the Sydney event sold out within hours of going on sale in early December. In fact, they were completely gone before the Las Vegas based organisation had confirmed a single fight.
"In the UFC, the fans know they are going to see great fights from the very first bout on the card right up to the main event. There aren't any ‘warm-up’ fights or 'gimme fights' in the UFC," said Bonnar.
Case in point being his fight at UFC 110 next month. Soszynski has won six of his last seven bouts, and is widely considered to be a rising star in the light heavyweight division.
"I am excited by the idea of this fight with Krzysztof. It should be fun beating him up. I’ve seen a decent amount of him. He's strong and has good power in his hands. But I feel I'm slicker and have better technical skills. I can’t wait to show the Aussies what the UFC is all about in a great fight."
Known as 'The American Psycho' due to his resemblance to the movie character played by Christian Bale, Bonnar doesn't know where the fight will end up, but he is positive that wherever it goes, it will be exciting.
"I can see both of us going for takedowns and also standing up and banging it out. I've seen Krzysztof try to take his last couple of opponents down and also seen him settle fights with submissions. I figure that's what he likes to do. I also think we could both keep it standing and trade shots there.
"I also see myself just having a lot of fun. Even if it's a really hard battle going into a grueling third round, I still see myself pulling it out and loving every moment. There's never going to be a second first show in Australia; I know the fans will be pumped and I intend to give them something to cheer about."Can Bonnar still cut it in the UFC? Leave a comment below.
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