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Hardy vs Gono at UFC 89

15/07/2008

Warriors’ own Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy will face UFC & Pride veteran Akihiro Gono at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on October 18th as his inaugural UFC fight since signing in May of this year.

Hardy, who signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship back in May of this year, sports an impressive 19-6-0-1nc record and is widely regarded as one of Europe’s top pound-for-pound fighters. Already the Cage Warriors Welterweight and Light-Welterweight World Champion Hardy holds wins over the likes of former King of Pancrase; Daizo Ishige, the K-1 Heros veteran; Hidetaka Monma and the two time UFC veteran Chad Reiner.

Known for his exciting stand-up style, colourful Mohawk and confident persona; Hardy has been thrilling audiences across the globe since making his debut in the summer of 2004. Currently on a hot streak which has seen him win 8 of his last 9 bouts since September 2006, with only a controversial DQ lost at the hands of the Japanese Judoka Yoshiyuki Yoshida putting a temporary blot on his record

Hardy’s run of form has seen him rise to 17th in the Fightmatrix.com World Rankings the 26 year old Nottingham fighter is surely destined for the top and will be looking to show why he is so highly rated when he makes his Octagon debut on October 18th.

Standing in his way is the unorthodox 33 year old Japanese fighter Akihiro Gono. Gono sports an impressive 28-12-7 record and is a 7 time Pride veteran, where he defeated the likes of the current CWFC Middleweight World Champion; Gegard Mousasi, the former Olympic Gold Medalist Judoaka; Hector Lombard and the former King of Pancrase; Yuki Kondo.

Gono made his UFC debut back in November last year at UFC 78: Validation where he defeated Tamdan McCrory by Armbar and won Submission of the night in the process. Known for his outlandish dress sense and ring entrances Gono should make the fight a very entertaining affair and will give Hardy one of the sternest tests a British UFC debutant has ever faced.

However Hardy has been preparing for this fight since May in the United States where he has been training at Legends MMA in California and at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Hardy and his legion of fans hope this world class preparation will be enough to give him the win in front of his UK fans when he enters the Octagon for the very first time in October.

He said: “I’m excited to be fighting such a tough, well-respected fighter for my debut as Gono. “It shows that the UFC know I am capable of dealing with the top tier guys and I am very grateful for the opportunity to go in at this kind of level.

“Gono has been in there with some of the best fighters in the world and always put on a good show, he comes to fight and has very good counter-strikes and some interesting submissions. He is a perfect opponent for me to prove my place in the UFC welterweight division and give the fans a great show. Fighting so close to home will be good because all of the people that have supported me through my career will be able to be there for my debut in the UFC”

“It means a lot to me to reach the UFC and it will be great to have all my family and friends in the Arena. I always fight hard knowing my fans are there willing me on, and I am expecting a great atmosphere and an awesome show.”

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