Ultimate Fight Night 18, which was recently announced to breakout from the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tennessee on April 1, now has an official lineup. The card will be headlined by former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann, and feature several Ultimate Fighter alumni, including Season 8's Ryan Bader, Efrain Escudero and Junie "The Lunatic" Browning. Full lineup after the jump.
Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann
Efrain Escudero vs. Jeremy Stephens
Ryan Bader vs. Carmelo Marrero
Junie Browning vs. Cole Miller
Tyson Griffin vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Horwich
Brock Larson vs. Jesse Sanders
Jorge Rivera vs. Nissen Osterneck
Rob Kimmons vs. Joe Vedepo (MW)
Tim McKenzie vs. Aaron Simpson
Steve Steinbeiss vs. Ryan Jensen
A win in the welterweight headliner could skyrocket the victor into immediate contention in the terrifyingly competitive 170-pound division. This will be Condit's Octagon debut and it's fairly rare that a newcomer gets headline status so quickly, but Condit has proved himself as the welterweight king in the UFC's sister organization WEC and deserves the nod. Kampmann, on the other hand, has spent most of career as a middleweight, but when he ran out of gas at 185, he made a well-advised drop to 170 and dazzled fans with his destruction of Alexandre Barros at UFC 93. Condit will represent his first real test at the new weight and could determine his future as a legitimate contender, or leave him searching for a place in a very crowded pool.
Efrain Escudero will look to add on to his perfect 11-0 record with a win over Jeremy Stephens, who is coming off a recent loss to Joe Lauzon at Fight Night 17. Another loss for Stephens could send him way down the ladder, while Escudero stands to solidify a legitimate base with a win.
Ryan Bader's task in Carmelo Marrero is no small one. Marrero underwent baptism-by-fire when he made his UFC debut in 2006, and suffered consecutive losses to Gabriel Gonzaga and Wilson Gouveia, but rebounded nicely with four wins in five fights (and one no-contest). He's a seasoned fighter, trained well out of American Top Team. Bader, however, proved at the TUF 8 finale that it will take more than an impressive pedigree and sharp ground skills to best the All-American wrestler.
Cole Miller is a big step up in competition for "The Lunatic," and he's been known to fly off the handle when pressured. However, his tenure so far at Extreme Couture has proved to be just what the doctor ordered. He was sharp, focused and in-shape in his bout against Dave Kaplan at the TUF 8 finale. If the same Junie shows up at Fight Night 18, Cole Miller will have his work cut out for him.