“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Nate Diaz will
ascend to the welterweight division and meet International Fight
League veteran Rory
Markham in a preliminary matchup at UFC
111 “St. Pierre vs. Hardy” on March 27 at the Prudential Center
in Newark, N.J. Ten bouts are now booked for the event.
Diaz has dropped three of his last four fights, including a split
decision defeat to the unbeaten Gray
Maynard at UFC Fight Night 20 last month. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu
brown belt under Cesar
Gracie, the 24-year-old Stockton, Calif., native owns
noteworthy victories against Melvin
Pellegrino and former Ring of Fire lightweight champion
Robinson. Diaz has secured eight of his 11 career wins by
A potent stand-up fighter who has knocked out UFC veterans Brad
Blackburn, Mike Pyle and
Healy, the oft-injured Markham has not competed in nearly a
year. He last appeared in February 2009, when he was leveled by
Hardy in just 69 seconds. Spawned by the famed Miletich
Fighting Systems camp, the 27-year-old Markham has never gone the
distance as a professional -- a span of 21 bouts.
Palhares will lock horns with Polish standout Tomasz
Drwal in a pivotal middleweight showdown.
The twice-beaten Palhares, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, last
competed in December, when he submitted Lucio
Linhares at UFC 107. Anchored at Brazilian Top Team, he has won
eight of his past nine matches, losing only to two-time Olympian
Henderson in that span. Wins over Pride Fighting Championships
Salaverry and former UFC light heavyweight title contender
Horn buoy his resume.
One of the middleweight division’s best-kept secrets, Drwal has put
together a three-fight winning streak since his 2007 technical
knockout loss to the world-ranked Thiago
Silva. The rugged 28-year-old Pole submitted the heavy-handed
McFedries with a rear-naked choke in September and has not gone
the distance in more than five years. Drwal has delivered 16 wins
in his past 17 appearances.
The lightweights will also share the UFC 111 stage, as Kurt
Pellegrino will collide with Strikeforce veteran Fabricio
Camoes on the “St. Pierre vs. Hardy” undercard.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Pellegrino will carry a
three-fight winning streak into the match. The 30-year-old Point
Pleasant, N.J., native has not competed since he cruised to a
unanimous decision over Josh Neer at
UFC 101 in August. “Batman” has never been knocked out and counts
victories against “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 winner Mac Danzig,
former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Alberto Crain and Sengoku
Golyaev among his 14 career conquests.
Unbeaten in his past eight fights, Camoes last appeared in
November, when he fought Caol Uno to a
majority draw in his promotional debut at UFC 106. The stalemate
snapped a string of seven consecutive victories for the Brazilian
jiu-jitsu black belt. Based out of San Diego, the 30-year-old has
secured eight of his 10 wins by knockout, TKO or submission.
A welterweight title match pairing champion Georges
St. Pierre with Hardy will headline UFC 111, along with a
showdown pitting Frank Mir
against the undefeated Shane
Carwin for the interim heavyweight championship.