Saturday, April 7, 2007

Wild west shootout

By Mike Chiappetta

Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra may be in the coveted main event slot of UFC 69, but more and more, the spotlight has shifted over to the matchup between welterweight contenders Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck.

The bad blood between them began in real life, spilled onto the internet and will come to a boil in Houston this weekend. They already got things going with their pull-apart scuffle during the weigh-ins for the event.

Earlier this week, the two played it relatively cool during a conference call, but this one should yield fireworks in the octagon.

"I believe he doesn't want to get hit in the face," Sanchez said about his rival. "When he does [get hit], he runs away. If he comes at me and hits me, I'm going to come back with fire."

"I've got a good chin, and I'm not afraid to get hit," Koscheck said in reply. "I've been hit before in fights and it won't be last time I get hit."

UFC President Dana White noted that the winner could be up for a title shot against the Serra-St. Pierre winner, saying, "This fight will be very interesting to see how it goes and who wins. The winner could fight for the title. Do I think they're ready right now? Absolutely. I think this fight will be a war, and the winner could definitely fight for the title."

Koscheck says that the two got along fine during the six weeks they spent together while filming The Ultimate Fighter, but the relationship began to disintegrate after Sanchez defeated him in the season semifinals. Sanchez went on to win the middleweight division (both fighters have since moved down to welterweight), and has remained undefeated at 19-0.

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