Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Former top lightweight contender Gray Maynard rebounds from knee surgery to face Canadian T.J. Grant on UFC's annual Memorial Day weekend event in Las Vegas.
Two lightweight matches have been added to UFC 160, with former top contender Gray Maynard (11-1-1, 1 no contest) facing T.J. Grant (15-5) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (19-0) taking on Abel Trujillo (10-4).
UFC 160 takes place on May 25, as the company's annual Memorial Day weekend show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The UFC announced Maynard vs. Grant on Wednesday night and sources close to the fighters confirmed Nurmagomedov vs. Trujillo.
Maynard, who had a draw and a loss in championship matches against Frankie Edgar, hasn't fought since beating Clay Guida via split decision in a fight that was frustrating for him. Maynard could never get any consistent offense in the five-round fight since Guida was trying to use a hit-and-run style to take a decision, to the point Maynard actually put his gloves down to allow Guida a free shot trying to get him to fight. But after that win, Maynard underwent major knee surgery. A strong outing could put the three-time All-American wrestler at Michigan State back in contention for new champion Benson Henderson.
Grant, who comes from Nova Scotia, had a mixed bag in his early UFC campaign as a welterweight. In moving to lightweight, he's gone 4-0, with wins over Shane Roller, Carlo Prater, Evan Dunham and he most recently finished Matt Wiman.
Nurmagomedov is originally from Russia, but has moved his base of operations to the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. Since arriving in UFC, he's beaten three powerhouse mid-level fighters in Kamal Shalorus, Gleison Tibau and Thiago Tavares, He finished Tavares in his last outing, on Jan. 19, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in just 1:55. Nurmagomedov infuriated the Brazilian fans when he was there by proclaiming sambo to be superior to Jiu Jitsu.
Trujillo, also a powerhouse for his weight, is an Iowa product. He made a strong debut using repeated knees to the body to finish former Minnesota high school wrestling legend Marcus LeVesseur in the second round on the Dec. 8 show in Seattle.
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