said in May that he doesn't have a choice; he's got to fight. Released by Zuffa last month following his fifth straight WEC loss, it didn't take Pulver long to find his next match.
Pulver (22-13-1), the first UFC lightweight champion, will face Diego Garijo (4-1) on the War on the Mainland
debut event Aug. 14 in Irvine, Calif.
Pulver will try to have his hand raised for the first time since beating Cub Swanson in his WEC debut at WEC 31 in December 2007. Since then, losses to Urijah Faber (twice), Leonard Garcia, Josh Grispi and Javier Vazquez chased him from the WEC. His last four losses have been in the first round with three straight by submission. Pulver is one of just two fighters to beat former UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn at 155 pounds. The other is Frankie Edgar, who beat Penn for the title in April.
The main event features another former UFC champion, Tim Sylvia
, against former UFC, Strikeforce and Affliction heavyweight Paul Buentello
. Sylvia will be fighting for the first time since submitting five-time World's Strongest Man winner Mariusz Pudzianowski
with strikes at a Moosin event in Massachusetts last month.
It was Sylvia's second straight win after a three-fight skid that saw him submitted by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fedor Emelianenko and knocked out in nine seconds by former boxing world champion Ray Mercer. Buentello recently snapped a two-fight losing streak with a Shark Fights win over Bryan Humes. He had returned to the UFC last December, but lost to Stefan Struve and Cheick Kongo before being released.
War on the Mainland spokesman Benny Ricardo told MMA Fighting that Powerhouse World Promotions, the company behind the event, the promotion would be holding boxing events to go along with MMA.
"Careful scrutiny has gone into the matchmaking so that we can provide the MMA fans around the world the well-known legends and the up-and-coming future of the fighting sport," Ricardo said. "The fans readily recognize the quality and uniqueness of this great card."
He also said the promotion is not setting out to compete against current top-shelf U.S. promotions.
"The goals are not to be a UFC, as Dana White and the Fertitta brothers have done a great job with their organization – they are the best," Ricardo said. "Or Strikeforce and the job Scott Coker has done with them. There is a UFC and there is a Strikeforce – this is Powerhouse World Promotions, and it will use a regular boxing ring where it is easy to see the fights taking place and merge both MMA and boxing. The goal of Powerhouse World Promotions is to one day let the world be the matchmaker and ask for the fights they want to see. The Internet now has the ability to make this happen, and Powerhouse World Promotions will make that happen."
The promotion is planning a second show in 2010 in Atlantic City. The debut show in Irvine was originally planned for San Diego, where Powerhouse is based out of. But Ricardo said several factors played a part in moving the show to the Bren Events Center on the UC-Irvine campus.
"The factors that went into deciding to hold the event (in Irvine) were many, not the least of which was that Orange County has already been home to the great Affliction shows at the Honda Center in Anaheim," Ricardo said. "So the market is an already ready-made market. The proximity to some great fight fans from Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Cochella Valley and San Diego County was also a key."
Also on the card, former UFC middleweight title contender Thales Leites
(17-3), on a three-fight winning streak since his release from the UFC, including victories over Dean Lister and Jesse Taylor, will face UFC and Strikeforce vet Falaniko Vitale (27-9). And Jason Lambert
(24-11) and Allan Goes (17-3), another pair of UFC vets, will meet in a light heavyweight bout. Lambert picked up his first win in more than three years earlier this spring, snapping a five-fight string that saw him lose to Wilson Gouveia, Luiz Cane, Jason MacDonald, Vladimir Matyushenko and Matt Horwich.
In other fights, Jorge Ortiz takes on Terry Martin, a veteran of the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce and Affliction; Gustavo Machado meets Rick Reeves; and Joao Silva fights Erin Beach.