The UFC is returning to the Big Easy in September and they're doing it in style. September 17 on Spike, fans will be able to see the first UFC event in New Orleans since 2000, and there's no better way to cap off the evening than with a clash of two top welterweights.
The Main Event
Jake Shields will return to the Octagon for the first time since his title challenge against Georges St-Pierre. He'll square off against Jake Ellenberger, who has been quickly rising through the ranks with four straight victories.
The back and forth interaction between the welterweights is already heating up. After Shields remarked that he doesn't know who Ellenberger is, the Omaha native tweeted the following:
"Jake Shields, you don't know who I am, and you're not gonna know who I am after the fight either. Your cornermen will tell you."
TUF Winners Return
Two recent winners of The Ultimate Fighter also come back to Spike for their next challenges in the Octagon. Season 11 winner Court McGee will try to continue his winning ways against Dong Yi Yang. McGee will also be battling ring rust, as an injury has kept him on the shelf since October. Yang is coming off a TKO win over Rob Kimmons this past, and the Korean Top team product has eight TKO wins in eleven fights.
Jonathan Brookins also won his season of TUF (season 12), but an injury kept him out the cage since that time. We're happy to say that Brookins will make his way to New Orleans to take on Eric Koch in what will be the TUF winner's debut at featherweight. Brookins is better known to most fans, having beaten Michael Johnson in December to capture the six figure contract, but dismissing Koch is a mistake Brookins can't afford to make. Koch is a WEC veteran with a 12-1 professional record and back-to-back Knockout of the Night honors.
Keep those hands up, guys.
More TUF Guys
Four other veterans of The Ultimate Fighter have made verbal commitments to throw down at the Battle of The Bayou, including two from the recent Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos.
Shamar Bailey will face a serious test at lightweight in Evan Dunham. Bailey will walk in with a 12-3 record and wins over Ryan McGillivray and TUF 6 vet John Kolosci. And while Dunham has had bad luck recently, he holds wins over Efrain Escudero and Tyson Griffin. Simply put, he's not to be taken lightly.
Clay Harvison won a split decision at the most recent Ultimate Fighter finale in June, and has turned right around to step into the Octagon with Season 9 runner up DaMarques Johnson. With a win over Mike Guymon and a loss to Amir Sadollah already, the fight will be Johnson's third this year.
If that wasn't enough, Season 12 favorite Cody McKenzie will try to rebound from his loss to Yves Edwards. This time it's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Vagner Rocha who will have to protect his neck from the dreaded McKenzietine.
But wait, there's more!
Alan Belcher returns from a career-threatening injury to take on Jason McDonald. Ken Stone will try to turn his two straight losses around against Donny Walker. And Mackens Semerzier and Mike Lullo will battle in featherweight action.
Stay with us in the coming weeks for more news on The Battle on The Bayou!