Crowning of worlds best heavyweight: Now that Fedor Emelianenko has suffered the first real loss in his career, Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar will battle for a shot at undisputed best heavyweight on the planet. The stakes couldn’t be higher for this championship bout.
The sequel: Krzysztof Soszynski defeated Stephan Bonnar in controversial fashion back at UFC 110. Bonnar received a large cut over his eye due to an inadvertent head butt between both fighters which forced the on-site physician to call the fight. Although Sosynski received the 3rd round TKO win over Bonnar, both fighters agreed that a rematch was needed.
Quick turnaround - Chris Leben, who upset Aaron Simpson at the TUF 11 Finale on June 19, is all of a sudden a company man, taking one for the team by making a quick return to the Octagon against Yoshihiro Akiyama on July 3. Extending his win streak to three with a win over Akiyama will certainly rejuvenate Leben’s career. The last time that the TUF 1 troublemaker strung three wins together was back in 2005-2006 when he first began fighting for the UFC.
Sotiropolous, soon to be lightweight champ? Sotiropolous returns to the Octagon for the first time since his brilliant performance against Joe Stevenson at UFC 110. Many of his Australian hometown supporters thought his display deserved an immediate title shot. Although Dana White was not quite on the same page as Sotiropolous’ rabid fans, he does believe that the Australian is absolutely at the top of the lightweight division pecking order. The Aussie is now 5-0 in the UFC and will face gritty UFC vet Kurt Pellegrino, who is on a four-fight win streak of his own.
Original Kimbo Killer returns: With one stiff right, Seth Petruzelli ended the air of mystery surrounding former street fighter, Kimbo Slice, while at the same time, starting a chain of events that eventually folded EliteXC. Petruzelli, a cast member of TUF 2 and two-fight veteran of the Octagon, returns to the organization after three years fighting elsewhere.
UFC 116 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 3 and will broadcast via pay-per-view, with two preliminary bouts airing live on Spike TV.
UFC 116 - Fight Card
Champ Brock Lesnar vs. interim champ Shane Carwin (heavyweight title-unification bout)
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben
Matt Brown vs. Chris Lytle
Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Kurt Pellegrino vs. George Sotiropoulos
Prelim Card (Spike TV)
Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer
Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero
Prelim Card (Un-aired)
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic
Dave Branch vs. Gerald Harris
Forrest Petz vs. Daniel Roberts
Jon Madsen vs. Karlos Vemola