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Friday, 09/02/2011, 08:54 am

Main Card Official For "UFC 137:St-Pierre vs. Diaz"


UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is riding a five-year, nine-fight winning streak that has seen the 30-year-old Canadian defeat the likes of Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Josh Koscheck (twice) and Jake Shields. Along the way, the Montreal native has captivated fans worldwide with his explosive takedowns and dominant performances inside the Octagon.

On Saturday, Oct. 29 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, GSP meets a man whose nearly four-year, 10-fight unbeaten streak has many believing that he could be the world’s best 170-pound fighter. In the main event of UFC 137, St-Pierre meets STRIKEFORCE welterweight champion Nick Diaz, the aggressive, no-nonsense southpaw on a mission to lay claim to UFC gold.

“This is the fight the world wants to see,” UFC President Dana White said. “GSP has absolutely dominated everyone in his path over the last five years and he’s on his way to becoming the greatest welterweight of all-time. Diaz has been on a tear himself and a lot of people think he’s the guy to end GSP’s reign. On Oct. 29, we’re going to see a welterweight title superfight.”

UFC®137: ST-PIERRE vs. DIAZ will also feature former two-division UFC champion BJ Penn taking on surging 170-pound contender Carlos Condit, as well as a heavyweight collision pitting French knockout artist Cheick Kongo against the undefeated Matt Mitrione. Plus, former PRIDE superstar Mirko Cro Cop meets The Ultimate Fighter season 10 winner Roy “Big Country” Nelson in a pivotal heavyweight bout, while Japanese featherweight star Hatsu Hioki makes his UFC debut against the gritty George Roop.

The UFC is planning a press conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sept. 7 featuring White, St-Pierre and Diaz. Details will be announced next week.

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada) has a resume that speaks for itself. With 22 wins and only two defeats, the 30-year-old holds two wins over Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, two victories over future Hall of Famer BJ Penn, as well as notable victories over the likes of Jon Fitch, Jake Shields and Dan Hardy. Yet, when he enters the Octagon in October, he’s envisioning the toughest bout of his near decade-long career.

“Nick Diaz is obviously a tough and very experienced fighter,” St-Pierre said. “Like me, he knows what it takes to be champion and I respect that. He’s a very dangerous striker – no doubt about it – but at the same time his grappling skills are also among the best. Just look at his coaches and the guys he trains with, you simply can’t expect anything less than him being very dangerous in both his striking and grappling. Fans have been asking for this fight and I think it’s great. Let’s do it!”

During his reign as STRIKEFORCE welterweight champion Nick Diaz (fighting out of Stockton, Calif.) defeated archrival KJ Noons and finished both Evangelista Santos and Paul Daley en route to becoming the organization’s best 170-pound fighter. Returning to the UFC for the first time since 2006, Diaz – whose brother Nate is also a UFC competitor – has zoned in on doing what only two others have ever done – defeat Georges St-Pierre.

“He must be pretty good because he keeps winning and people think he’s the best welterweight out there,” Diaz, who owns a record of 26-7-1, said. “His physical strength lets him take the fight where he wants it to go. He comes to the fight in shape and tries to dictate the pace. But this fight means I can represent my team and showcase my skills. It means I can prove I’m the best.”

One of only two men to ever hold UFC titles in two different weight divisions, the legendary BJ Penn (fighting out of Hilo, Hawaii) returns in October to take on surging contender Carlos Condit (fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) in welterweight action. The 32-year-old Penn (16-7-2) knocked out Hughes at UFC 123 and then battled to a controversial draw with Fitch in February. He’ll look to earn another title shot by besting Condit (27-5), a 27-year-old former WEC champion with four straight wins, three of which came by way of knockout.

Fresh off his dramatic, come-from-behind knockout victory over Pat Barry in June, Cheick Kongo (fighting out of Paris, France) looks to extend his three-fight unbeaten streak when he goes to battle with unbeaten rising star Matt Mitrione (fighting out of Indianapolis, Ind.). The 36-year-old Kongo (26-6-2), a training partner of former light heavyweight champion Rampage Jackson, owns stoppage victories over the likes of Barry, Paul Buentello, Antoni Hardonk and Mostapha Al-Turk. On Oct. 29, he’ll meet Mitrione (5-0), a former NFL player with five straight UFC victories, four by knockout.

PRIDE legend Mirko Cro Crop (fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia) finds himself at a pivotal point in his career and looks to spark a run up the heavyweight ladder when he meets Roy Nelson (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) at UFC 137. The 36-year-old Cro Cop (27-9-2, 1NC), universally known for his devastating kicks, owns wins over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Mark Coleman and Josh Barnett in his storied career. Meanwhile, Nelson (16-6), 35, was the season 10 winner of The Ultimate Fighter and also boasts key victories over Stefan Struve and Brendan Schaub.

Japanese featherweight sensation Hatsu Hioki (fighting out of Nagoya, Aichi, Japan) makes his long-awaited UFC debut this fall when he locks horns with seasoned veteran George Roop (fighting out of Tucson, Ariz.). Winner of four straight and holding notable victories over the likes of Mark Hominick and Jeff Curran, the 28-year-old Hioki (24-4-2) enters the Octagon with hopes of one day earning a shot at champion Jose Aldo. First, he must defeat the 29-year-old Roop (12-8-1), who battered Josh Grispi en route to a TKO victory in June.


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