Wednesday, February 14, 2007

UFC confirms Manchester card

By Neil Davidson

(CP) - The UFC has confirmed it is headed back to Britain to hold an April 21 mixed martial arts card in Manchester, England.

The show at Manchester's MEN Arena, believed to be UFC 70 although the UFC has yet to name the night, follows pay-per-view events March 3 in Columbus, Ohio, and April 7 in Houston.

It marks the first foray into Britain since UFC 33: Brawl at the Hall when Canadian Carlos Newton was beaten by Matt Hughes in July 2002 at London's Royal Albert Hall.

"We had a lot of obstacles over the last six years, but I never gave up on bringing the UFC back to the UK," UFC president Dana White said in a release. "Now we have our UK office up and running, we're going to have fights in the UK and throughout Europe, so the UFC is here to stay."

Internet reports have pegged Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic as being on the English show, along with a rematch of Tito Ortiz-Forrest Griffin.

Edmonton light-heavyweight Victor (The Matrix) Valimaki is also expected to fight on the card, possibly against former Italian boxer Alessio Sakara.

European fighters Michael Bisping, Dennis Siver and Cheick Kongo are also reportedly on board.

In other UFC fight news, Kalib Starnes' camp confirms the middleweight from Surrey, B.C., is in negotiations to meet Chris (The Crippler) Leben at an event in May. Leben is coming off a UFC 66 submission loss to Jason MacDonald of Red Deer, Alta.

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