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UFC 'Fight for the Troops 2' Raises Money, Makes Mitrione a Star

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The UFC did its good deed last night with the second "Fight for the Troops" fundraiser. They've been involved with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund since its inception and have helped the IFHF raise more than $65 million for its cause over the years. 

According to MMA Fighting more than $600,000 came in from phone calls during the broadcast last night and that the final tally is expected to be much higher: 

Edelman said the total raised from the UFC's Fight for the Troops event in Fayetteville, N.C., in December 2008 was in excess of $4 million.

"Last (event's) number was close to $5 million, and I must say that Dana, Lorenzo and Frank contributed a lot to that," Edelman said. "They've been just absolutely spectacular.

The event raised some bumps and bruises as well with Melvin Guillard and Mark Hominick both emerging as title contenders in their respective divisions. Guillard blasted lightweight contender Evan Dunham and finished him in 2:58 of the first. Jonathan Snowden has more on Guillard and his transformation from screw up to success.

Hominick made short work of George Roop and earned himself a crack at UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. We won't know until we see them exchange if Hominick's sound striking fundamentals will avail him against the speed of Aldo.

While the smaller men delivered with technique and action, it was the heavyweight bruisers that the UFC was really pushing last night. Kickboxing legend and fast-rising MMA coach Duke Roufus brought two of his biggest fighters to Texas last night: Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione. Both of them were fed brawlers with limited prospects in hopes of creating highlight reel knock outs for the troops.

Pat Barry frustrated many by letting brawler Joey Beltran survive the fight but Matt Mitrione delivered with a first round finish of Tim Hague

After the bout Mitrione said he wants to be the heavyweight Dominick Cruz, referring to the UFC bantamweight champ who confounds foes with his footwork. While it's not likely that Mitrione will ever be confused for a fleet footed bantamweight, he has found a way to apply the athleticism that took him to the NFL to MMA. 

Where he goes from here is the big question. The UFC heavyweight division is notoriously thin and there is a big leap from the Tim Hagues and Joey Beltrans of the world up to the Cheick Kongos, Roy Nelsons and other gate keepers of the division. I'm skeptical that Mitrione has the wrestling skills to go much higher in the rankings but time will tell. 


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