Rogers, 'Ninja' Return Under Warrior-1 MMA Banner


Two-time Strikeforce headliner Brett Rogers will lock horns with well-traveled journeyman Ruben “Warpath” Villareal in the Warrior-1 MMA “New Ground” main event on Saturday at the Halifax Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

A prohibitive favorite, Rogers will carry a two-fight losing streak into the match. The hulking 29-year-old last appeared in May, when he succumbed to first-round punches from current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. A potent finisher, Rogers has secured nine of his 10 career victories by knockout or technical knockout and sports 12-, 22-, 37- and 61-second stoppages on his resume. Having never gone the distance in 12 professional appearances, he owns notable wins over former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and Pride Fighting Championships veteran James Thompson.

Villareal has posted three wins in his last four appearances. The 40-year-old Los Angeles native has not competed since he submitted to a rear-naked choke from Mike Cook under The Warriors Cage banner in January. Villareal, who tested positive for suspected steroid use in November 2007, has tested himself against some of the sport’s most recognizable fighters, including Bas Rutten, Don Frye, UFC hall of famer Dan Severn, former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva and one-time UFC heavyweight titleholder Ricco Rodriguez. Fifteen of his 18 career victories have come via KO, TKO or submission.

Meanwhile, former EliteXC middleweight champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua will collide with Roy Boughton in a featured catchweight match at 190 pounds. Boughton, however, placed the bout in jeopardy on Friday, when he missed weight by more than five pounds at the official weigh-in.

The Brazilian’s camp grew visibly upset when Boughton checked in at 195.2 pounds, left the scale and immediately started hydrating. Rua and his handlers, citing Nova Scotia Commission rules, demanded that Boughton use the allocated two hours to attempt to meet his weight requirement. At 7:30 p.m., Boughton left the sauna and retuned the scale, where he weighed in at 201 pounds, 11 pounds overweight.

Rua’s manager, Eduardo Alonso consulted with Warrior-1 MMA President Jack Bateman and commission rep Hubert Earle in an attempt to resolve the issue. Alonso raised his concern that Boughton may have missed weight intentionally, willing to surrender 20 percent of his purse in order to gain a physical advantage over Rua. Negotiations lasted several hours. Finally, at 10 p.m., Alonso informed Bateman he would consent to Rua accepting the bout.

“W-1 is a great show,” Alonso told Sherdog.com. “They’re a serious promotion and a bunch of honest guys who are trying hard, and I know the impact that it will have to not have Ninja fighting on the show for them at this stage, when they’re still growing. They really wanted to have Ninja here. We flew all the way from Brazil. Ninja trained; he made weight. He did his part, and he wants to fight. He’s a warrior, and I wouldn’t want to screw the W-1 guys.”

Brett Rogers vs. Ruben Villareal
Murilo “Ninja” Rua vs. Roy Boughton
Roger Hollett vs. Mychal Clark
Matt MacGrath vs. Ryan Machan
Chad Cox vs. Nordine Taleb
Tristan Johnson vs. Douglas Evans
Ricky Goodall vs. Sean Pierson
Jason MacKay vs. Musa Tolliver
Chris Johnson vs. Jeremy Hamilton
Jeremiah Bernard vs. Todd Henry
Pat Schilling vs. Tom Waters
Jeff Black vs. Michael Imperato

Andy Cotterill contributed to this report.

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