The UFC now has its first ever Venezuelan fighter among its featherweight ranks as heavy-handed brawler, Maximo Blanco, has officially signed with the promotion and will face TUF 14 cast-member, Marcus Brimage at the recently-announced UFC 145 in Atlanta on April 21st. MMA Weekly reported the booking:
The bout was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fight on Thursday with verbal agreements in place for the April bout.
After wreaking havoc on the lightweight division in Japan for Sengoku, Maxi finally made his stateside debut for Strikeforce in September, but he was absolutely dwarfed by veteran, Pat Healy, and after getting worn down and grinded out on the mat, Blanco succumbed to a rear naked choke in the second round. Realizing he was likely too small to successfully compete at 155 lbs, Blanco decided to make the drop down to 145 lbs., and the UFC quickly added the exciting Venezuelan to their burgeoning featherweight division.
Brimage, an Alabama native, will certainly give Blanco the stand-up fight he prefers, although the American's boxing is probably a bit more refined than Blanco's wild brawling, and Brimage also has the benefit of training at American Top Team, one of the premier camps in the sport. Althought he was submitted in the quarterfinals of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter by Bryan Caraway, Brimage returned at the season finale and took a clear-cut decision victory over Stephen Bass.
The Atlanta card has recently been renumbered as UFC 145, since that number originally belonged to a planned April event in Montreal which was later scrapped from the UFC's spring schedule. It's expected that many of the fights that were already booked for Montreal will be moved to this Atlanta card, but that hasn't been confirmed yetr.
Maximo "Maxi" Blanco (8-3)
L Pat Healy (submission) - Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov
W Won Sik Park (unam. decision) - Sengoku Soul of Fight
W Kiuma Kunioku (KO) - Sengoku 15
Marcus "The Bama Beast" Brimage (4-1)
W Stephen Bass (unam. decision) - TUF 14 Finale
W Kyle Bradley (TKO) - USA MMA 13
L Joey Camacho (submission) - Iron Ring