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Vladimir Matyushenko Set for UFC Return vs. Cro Cop's Main Sparring Partner

Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko, who once challenged Tito Ortiz for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 33, will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 103 on Sept. 19 in Dallas, Texas.

Matyushenko (21-4) will face UFC newcomer Igor Pokrajac (21-5), notable for being Mirko Cro Cop's main sparring partner. Pokrajac is on an eight-fight win streak, and while he holds a solid win-loss record, has fallen against recognizable opponents such as Assuerio Silva and Mamed Khalidov.

Matyushenko will be entering his third stint with the UFC. The 38-year-old first fought for the UFC in 2001, defeating Pancrase star Yuki Kondo by unanimous decision and left three months after a title shot loss to Tito Ortiz. He returned in 2002 with wins over Travis Wiuff and Pedro Rizzo and exited again after a knockout loss to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 44 in September 2003.

Matyushenko resurfaced on the national stage three-and-a-half years later with the IFL as a light heavyweight and beat all six of his IFL opponents for a title reign. Matyushenko stood close to the 205-pound top ten rankings but was setback by a loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at Affliction in January. He bounced back in May with a decision over UFC veteran Jason Lambert at a local show in Ontario, Calif.

With the addition of Matyushenko's return, UFC 103 now consists of a whopping 13 fights.


Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Junior Dos Santos
Mike Swick vs. Martin Kampmann
Josh Koscheck vs. Frank Trigg
Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca


Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
Jim MIller vs. Thiago Tavares
Dan Lauzon vs. Rafaello Oliveira
Paul Daley vs. Brian Foster
Drew McFedries vs. Tomasz Drwal
Eliot Marshall vs. Jason Brilz
Vladimir Matyusheno vs. Igo Pokrajac
Rob Emerson vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

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