It appears that the folks working at the O2 Arena in London, England will tweak the seating arrangements to allow additional spectators for the October 16 UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama. Before the UFC could even release a full lineup, MMA fans sold the show out.
All told, there are eight British-born mixed martial artists on the card, making it no wonder as to why fans of the UFC are flocking to witness this one live.
In the main event of the evening, the Manchester-born Michael "The Count" Bisping (20-3), winner of the third season of Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter," faces off against Japanese judo practitioner Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-2, 2 NC) in a three-round affair that could place the winner in middleweight title contention.
In a co-feature bout, the first Brit to challenge for a UFC world title, Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy (23-7, 1 NC), looks to rebound from his March defeat to welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Hardy steps into the Octagon with former WEC star, Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit (25-5), who looks to add his name to the welterweight title mix with a win. Hardy was originally slated to take on the recently married Dustin Hazelett before ultimately being paired up with Condit.
In another England vs. USA match up, Brighton's John "Hitman" Hathaway (14-0) puts his undefeated record on the line against the Las Vegas based Mike "Quicksand" Pyle (19-7-1). Hathaway will be looking for his second win of 2010 as he is coming off a unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez. The veteran submission specialist in Pyle is stepping in for the recently injured Dong Hyun Kim.
In one of only three matches all evening to not contain a British fighter, French heavyweight slugger Cheick Kongo (25-6-1) will attempt to deliver the San Diego-based Travis Browne (10-0) the first loss of his career as the two go head to head in a three-round clash that will no doubt mark the toughest test of the American's career.
In what looks to be the televised opener, the British-born California transplant James "Lightning" Wilkes (8-3) hopes to build upon his success since his appearance in the ninth season of TUF when he takes on Claude "The Prince" Patrick (12-1) in a welterweight special attraction.
The final preliminary bout of the evening pits three-time Ross Pearson foe and Bisping's stablemate at the Wolfslair Academy, Curt Warburton (6-1) and veteran American contender Spencer "The King" Fisher (24-6). Warburton looks to impress in his UFC debut, while Fisher hopes to avoid three consecutive losses for the first time in his career.
In a fight that is all but guaranteed to go to the ground, Liverpool's own Paul Sass (10-0) looks to stay unbeaten when he takes on the Canadian Mark Holst (8-2). The two lightweights share 13 submission wins.
In a bout that will most likely end inside the distance and one of three on the card to feature two fighters outside of England is the light heavyweight bout between 6'6" Frenchman Cyrille "The Snake" Diabate (17-6-3) as he squares off against the Swedish born Alexander Gustafson (9-1). Diabate's UFC debut in May resulted in a TKO win from punches over Luiz Cane, while Gustafson's most recent performance ended with the first loss of his career when he was submitted in the first round by Phil Davis.
Popular British heavyweight Rob "The Bear" Broughton (14-5-1) hopes to make his UFC debut as well as extend his four-fight win streak when he meets Brazilian banger Vinicius Queiroz (5-1).
Former TUF: Heavyweights alum, James McSweeney (13-6) anticipates getting back to his winning ways in his light heavyweight debut against late-replacement Fabio Maldonado (17-3). In his last fight, McSweeney was outstruck by fellow UFC 120 contestant, Travis Browne in the first round of their June tilt. The bout with McSweeney will mark the first for Maldonado in the UFC and just the second to take place outside of his native Brazil.
Finally, the bout that will kick off the show will feature former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Steve Cantwell (7-3) hopes to avoid three consecutive losses when he takes on Bulgaria's Stanislav Nedkov (11-0) who looks to keep his undefeated record intact during his UFC debut.