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Maldonado faces Nedkov in standup war at UFC Rio

Maldonado is set to take on Nedkov (pictured), who is undefeated in his 12-fight career. Photo: UFC.

Since confirming the Erick Silva-Siyar Bahadurza tilt for the UFC 142 main card yesterday, the UFC added another Brazilian to the lineup of the Rio de Janeiro event to be held in the HSBC Arena on January 14: light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado (18-4-0) of Nogueira team will take on undefeated Bulgarian Stanislav Nedkov (12-0-0).

Maldonado, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Kyle Kingsbury, will be looking for redemption in the octagon against the man who defeated Luiz “Banha” Cané at the last event held in Brazil, last August.

José Aldo (featherweight champion), Vitor Belfort (middleweight), Thiago Tavares and Edson Barboza (lightweight) are the others confirmed to defend the Brazilian flag on the promotion’s Rio de Janeiro return. It will be the first event held in Brazil to be broadcast live on Rede Globo, the most popular network television station in the country. Tickets are expected to go on sale in December.

“I’m really glad about it; I hope to have a good fight, like the other ones I’ve had in Rio [before joining the UFC]. This interval was perfect for me. I’m going to start with groundwork training and then do more power-based training later,” said Maldonado, promising to fix the flaws that led to his only defeat in the organization, at the TUF Finale last June. “I made some mistakes in training for my fight with [Kyle] Kingsbury, but that won’t happen again. I know when the fighter’s style matches up well with mine, and the Bulgarian is going to take a whooping,” joked Junior Cigano’s training partner.

Maldonado will get a chance to avenge the knockout suffered by his countryman Luiz Banha at the hands of Nedkov, who was making his promotional debut. To the Brazilian boxing specialist, the Bulgarian’s game fits right in with his.

“I like imagining what my opponent will have to do to beat me. In this case, he’ll need to take me to the ground. He’s a good wrestler, he’s got what it takes to do it, so I’ll work on takedown defense and I won’t take him down. I’m going to try and keep it standing, like I always do, since that’s where I feel I’m strongest,” he said in finishing.

UFC Rio 142
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Saturday, January 14, 2012

José Aldo vs Chad Mendes
Vitor Belfort vs Anthony Johnson
Terry Etim vs Edson Junior
Stanislav Nedkov vs Fabio Maldonado
Erick Silva vs Siyar Bahadurzada
Sam Stout vs Thiago Tavares

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