Ortiz, Nogueira to headline UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle

Jeremy Botter of HeavyMMA.com writes that a light-heavyweight bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Tito Ortiz will go down at UFC Fight Night 24 now instead of UFC 128 like it was originally scheduled.

The event is expected to take place March 26 in Seattle. The news was first reported on Tuesday by MMA Junkie.

Fight Night 24 will air on Spike TV. It will be the UFC’s first trip to Washington, and will likely take place at the KeyArena.

Ortiz teased the possibility of the fight on Monday night via his official Twitter account. “Big news,” he said. “I’m not fighting in New Jersey. But I am still fighting ‘Lil Nog’ in March.”

Ortiz is winless in his past five fights and has not scored a win in more than four years. Nogueira, meanwhile, is coming off a tough loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 119 in September.

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Shogun, Evans scheduled for UFC 129

MONTREAL- MAY 8: Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua (L) looks at Lyoto Machida in their light heavyweight bout at UFC 113 at Bell Centre on May 8, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

From HeavyMMA.com:

A long-awaited light heavyweight title fight between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Rashad Evans will now headline a UFC event on March 19 in Newark, New Jersey.

Currently titled UFC 129, the event could eventually become UFC 128 due to the cancellation of a planned event in Abu Dhabi on March 12. Officials were not able to secure a venue for the planned Middle East event.

A featherweight bout between Chad Mendes and Michihiro Omigawa is also planned for the event. Sources close to the UFC confirmed both bouts with Heavy.com on Wednesday. Sportsnet.ca first reported the rescheduling on Tuesday.

The co-main event will feature light heavyweight veteran Tito Ortiz taking on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. In addition, Kurt Pellegrino also announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he’ll be taking on Gleison Tibau during the event.

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UFC 119 Picks & Predictions

UFC 119 takes place tonight from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The card doesn’t have a major fight that will have an impact on the landscape of the organization but each of the five main card bouts should be competitive and entertaining contests. Here are my picks for the show.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Frank Mir (13-5) vs. Mirko Cro Cop (27-7-2) – Cro Cop took this fight on somewhat short notice as this was originally supposed to be a rematch of Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. On top of that, Cro Cop is not 100 percent coming into the fight as he is dealing with an eye injury. Cro Cop is a step slower than he was in his prime while Mir has improved his striking while still being one of the best submission fighters in all of MMA. I see Mir landing a big punch in the second round before jumping on Cro Cop and finishing with a choke.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Antonio Rogerio Nogueria (19-3) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0) – This fight is a big contest for both as each needs the win to really get into the title picture in this division. The key to the bout will be Bader’s wrestling, as his explosiveness should win out against Nogueira. If Bader can avoid the big hit and close the distance in the fight, he should be able to win a decision by grinding out the fight on top with ground and pound.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Matt Serra (17-6) vs. Chris Lytle (29-17-4) – I see this fight going similarly to the first. Lytle is an entertaining and experienced fighter, but he never has been able to get that marquee win in his career. Serra really just has the win over Georges St. Pierre to go bye, but he has always been a tough guy to beat as well. In this fight I see Serra controlling the fight with his grappling. The only way I don’t see him winning by decision is if he gets too confident in his striking.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Sean Sherk (37-4-1) vs. Evan Dunham (11-0) – Sherk used to dominate the division with his strength and wrestling, but recently his opponents have been able to avoid his takedowns with their strength and they have been faster with their striking, which has caused Sherk to lose two of his last three bouts. Dunham has that same style to beat Sherk. Sherk will struggle to get the fight to the ground and Dunham will be a little quicker to the punch. I like Dunham to win this fight by decision.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Melvin Guillard (43-9-3) vs. Jeremy Stephens (18-5) – This fight should be explosive as both have big power and like to swing with everything they have in each punch. The key in this bout will be Guillard’s inability to fight off his back as Stephens trains with Hermes Franca and has some grappling skills that many haven’t seen yet. I see Stephens getting takedowns late to set up for some ground and pound and a TKO finish in the third.

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