UFC 124 Roster Nears Completion


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Joe Stevenson file photo: Sherdog.com

The fight card for UFC 124 is nearing completion. The promotion has made official four new additions to the show, including a lightweight scrap between Joe Stevenson and Mac Danzig and a welterweight showdown between the world-ranked Thiago Alves and John Howard.

Also added to the lineup were two preliminary bouts: Ricardo Almeida vs. T.J. Grant and Pat Audinwood vs. John Makdessi. The event, which will be headlined by a rematch between welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck, will go down on Dec. 11 from the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Stevenson, a black belt in both judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, holds nearly half of his 31 career victories by submission. Noted for his effective use of the guillotine choke, Stevenson debuted with the UFC as a contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter 2” in 2005. After winning the competition, Stevenson dropped a unanimous decision to Josh Neer at UFC Fight Night Night 4, which resulted in a move down to lightweight. “Daddy” ran off four straight victories at 155 pounds, earning a title shot against then champion B.J. Penn at UFC 80 in 2008. Penn went on to defeat Stevenson soundly, lacerating him in round one and finishing the fight in the second frame with his patented rear-naked choke. Now fighting out of Greg Jackson’s camp, Stevenson has fought his way to “Fight of the Night” honors in three of his last four appearances, though he has gone only 2-2 over that span. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Aussie George Sotiropoulos in February at UFC 124.

The man Stephenson will face is also a former winner on “The Ultimate Fighter,” though Danzig competed on Season 6 of the show. A former King of the Cage champion, he has secured more than half of his 19 career wins by submission. Danzig is just 1-4 in his last five fights and is coming off a controversial loss to Matt Wiman. Early in round one of their UFC 115 contest, Wiman applied a guillotine choke. Thinking Danzig had lost consciousness, referee Yves Lavigne stopped the match. In fact, Danzig was wide awake and immediately protested the decision. The pair was scheduled to scrap again at UFC Fight Night 22 in September, but an injury to his chest caused Danzig to pull out.

A former welterweight title challenger, Alves is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since he started his career 0-2. At one time, it seemed like “The Pitbull” could not be stopped, as he put together seven consecutive victories from 2006 to 2008 on his way to a failed title bid against divisional kingpin Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100. The American Top Team standout was then scheduled to face Jon Fitch in a rematch of their 2006 contest, but Alves was forced to pull out of the bout twice. A knee injury prevented him from facing Fitch at UFC 107, and an arteriovenus malformation was discovered in his brain during a pre-fight CAT scan in March. Alves underwent corrective surgery on Mar. 31 and finally faced Fitch again at UFC 117 in August, losing to the former Purdue wrestler by unanimous decision.

Howard is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and trains out of Wai Kru MMA in Boston. Debuting with the promotion in 2009, the 27-year-old went 4-0 in the Octagon, earning “Knockout of the Night” honors at UFC Live in March. Following that impressive performance, “Doomsday” suffered his first UFC setback in August when he took a TKO defeat at the hands of Jake Ellenberger.

A former middleweight King of Pancrase, Almeida has experienced mixed results at 170 pounds, choking out Matt Brown in March before succumbing to former champion Matt Hughes in August. Almeida was submitted by a Hughes front-headlock choke at UFC 117.

Grant has had an up-and-down career with the UFC, going 3-2 during his time with the promotion. The Canadian earned “Knockout of the Night” for his first-round TKO over Kevin Burns at UFC 107 in 2009.

Audinwood suffered his first career defeat against Thiago Tavares at UFC 119. Prior to that, the Team BombSquad product had put together a four-fight winning streak. Makdessi is a former kickboxer and trains out of the Tristar Gym in Montreal. “The Bull” will be making his UFC debut in December.

UFC Welterweight Championship
Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck

Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig
Thiago Alves vs. John Howard
Dustin Hazelett vs. Mark Bocek
Matt Riddle vs. Anthony Waldburger
Dan Miller vs. Joe Doerksen
Ricardo Almeida vs. T.J. Grant
John Makdessi vs. Pat Audinwood
* Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Rafael Natal

* Not Official

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