Joey Villasenor (right) looks for a home win on May 27. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com


Texas-based MMA promotion Shark Fights is leaving the Lone Star State for the first time in its two-year history.

The promotion Wednesday announced that Shark Fights 15 -- headlined by a middleweight confrontation between Joey Villasenor and Chris Camozzi -- will go down May 27, just outside Albuquerque, N.M., at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, N.M.

Broadcast plans for the show have not yet been announced, though the promotion recently inked a multi-event deal with cable network HDNet to air live events in 2011. No other bouts outside of the main event have been confirmed.

“We have a great show planned for New Mexico. Shark Fights 15 is stacked from top to bottom with elite contenders,” said Shark Fights executive Wes Nolen in a statement. “This is a very compelling matchup and an important fight for both fighters. This is their opportunity to prove to the fans that they are still top contenders in the sport.”

A 12-year veteran of the sport, Villasenor formerly competed in Strikeforce, EliteXC and Pride Fighting Championships. The middleweight had a four-fight winning streak snapped by Strikeforce middleweight king Ronaldo Souza in May 2010. The 35-year-old followed that defeat with another loss, dropping a unanimous decision to Danillo Villefort in his September Shark Fights debut.

Camozzi, 24, burst onto the national scene as a cast member on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11. Following his stint on the reality show, “Kamikaze” rattled off back-to-back wins to begin his UFC career, outpointing both James Hammortree and Dongi Yang in 2010. The California native most recently fell to Kyle Noke on the Aussie’s home turf of Sydney in February. Camozzi was released by the UFC shortly thereafter.

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