Salil Gulati sent along the following:
New York, NY, July 15, 2008 — Spike TV will be seeing Cornhusker red this fall as the network travels to Nebraska for the first ever UFC event in the state with an action-packed card featuring former “The Ultimate Fighter” champions Nate Diaz and Mac Danzig, and Omaha’s own, Houston Alexander. Spike TV’s live “UFC Fight Night” will emanate from the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska Wednesday, September 17 from 9:00pm-11:00pm and will lead into the premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter 8.”
Nate Diaz (8-2) rose to national prominence by defeating Manny Gamburyan in the finale of “The Ultimate Fighter 5” in June 2007. Since then, the 23 year-old mixed martial arts prodigy has won three straight bouts, all via submission, most recently against veteran Kurt Pellegrino in April. The Stockton, CA resident trains with his brother, mixed martial arts fighter Nick Diaz, and the Cesar Gracie Fight Team. His opponent in the main event will be Josh “The Dentist” Neer who trains with the Miletich Martial Arts Team in Bettendorf, IA. Neer has an impressive UFC resume with victories over Joe Stevenson, Melvin Guillard, and, most recently, Din Thomas this past April. “The Dentist” will look to extract Nate Diaz from his winning ways in a battle of lightweight contenders.
Mac Danzig (19-4-1), winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 6,” is a rising star in the UFC lightweight division. Fighting out of Los Angeles at the renowned Legends Gym with fellow UFC fighters Karo Parisyan and Manny Gamburyan, Danzig (19-4-1) was among the top fighters in the King of the Cage mixed martial arts promotion before he gained national acclaim as a standout fighter on “The Ultimate Fighter 6.” His domination over Tommy Speer in the finale last December, along with a victory over Mark Bocek at UFC 84 in April, has elevated Danzig to among the top contenders in the 155lb division. His opponent will be Chicago native Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (23-9), regarded as one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. Guida is coming off of an impressive victory over Samy Schiavo this past April. However, it was his epic battle with Roger Huerta last December on Spike TV that places Guida in UFC lore. Unfortunately for Guida, Huerta rallied to win their dramatic duel in the Octagon with a stunning rear-naked choke submission in the waning moments of the third and final round.
Fighting in front of his hometown fans, the pride of Omaha who claims to bleed Cornhusker red, Houston “The Assassin” Alexander, desperately needs a victory over Eric “The Red” Schafer to get back in the hunt for the UFC light heavyweight title. The 36-year-old Alexander burst onto the UFC scene in May 2007 with a shocking first round knockout over Keith Jardine at UFC 71. A victory over Alessio Sakara at UFC 75 last September elevated Alexander to the division’s elite. However, losses to Thiago Silva and James “The Sandman” Irvin have derailed his path to a title shot. Alexander will certainly be a local favorite, as the single father to six children serves as a community activist and radio deejay in Omaha.
Schafer (9-3-2), a Milwaukee, WI native, has dropped his last two fights in the Octagon, to Stephan Bonnar at UFC 77 in October 2007 and to Michael Bisping at UFC 66 in December 2006. The 30 year-old veteran looks to disappoint the partisan-Alexander crowd by defeating Omaha’s prodigal son.
Lightweight Joe Lauzon made an impressive debut in the UFC with a knockout over Jens Pulver at UFC 63 in September 2006. Lauzon, from suburban Boston, gained further acclaim as a standout fighter on “The Ultimate Fighter 5.” However, his road to a UFC title shot was thwarted by Kenny Florian this past April in a nationally televised bout on Spike TV. Lauzon looks to get back on the winning track against up-and coming talent, 25 year-old Kyle Bradley (13-5-1), fighting out of Baton Rouge, LA.
Also on the undercard, “The Ultimate Fighter 3” finalist Ed Herman (15-5) fighting out of Portland, OR, who has won three out of his last four UFC fights, takes on Alan Belcher (11-4) fighting out of Biloxi, Mississippi.