The Ultimate Fighter season one cast member and major middleweight contender Mike Swick (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is no longer expected on the March 3 UFC 68 card. The American Kickboxing Academy team member was slated to face Yushin Okami (19-3 MMA, 3-0) on the main card of the Columbus, Ohio event.
Rumors have been heating up lately that the UFC 68 bout might be moved to Houston’s UFC 69 card in April. According to a UFCjunkie.com source close to the event, Swick will definitely no longer be part of the UFC 68 event, but it’s not immediately known if UFC 69 is a definite.
Although the Swick-Okami bout was a major part of the rumored UFC 68 fight card, the event (the first in the state of Ohio) is expected to feature a number of other UFC notables, including a main event of UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia (23-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) vs. UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture (14-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC). Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin and Renato “Babalu” Sobral are all also expected to fight that night.
Swick, who lost to Stephan Bonnar in an Ultimate Fighter exhibition semi-final bout, has gone undefeated in UFC action since the show. Nicknamed “Quick,” Swick dominated his first four UFC opponents, including Alex Schoenauer (0:20), Gideon Ray (0:22), Steve Vigneault (2:09) and Joe Riggs (2:19). His only UFC bout to go past the first was to top contender David Loiseau, whom Swick beat with a unanimous-decision victory at UFC 63.
Japan’s Okami, a veteran of Pancrase and PRIDE Fighting Championships, has picked up UFC victories over Alan Belcher, Kalib Starnes, and most recently, Rory Singer at UFC 66. He’s won 11 of his past 12 MMA fights overall.
At this point, it’s not known if Swick will still face Okami when he fights next. Obviously, once I know for sure, I’ll post it here on UFCjunkie.com.
With Swick-Okami now apparently bumped from the UFC 68 card, that opens a slot for one of the undercard bouts to appear on the televised portion of the night. Assuming Sobral (27-6 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Jason Lambert (22-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was already a given, Jon Fitch (12- 2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) vs. Luigi Fioravanti (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) seems to be a logical choice, though a matchup featuring two Ohio natives — Matt Hamill (2-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Rex Holman (4-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) — may also get some consideration.
In any manner, here’s the rumored UFC 68 card as it now stands:
UFC 68: March 3, 2007 — Columbus, OH (Nationwide Arena)
Tim Sylvia vs. Randy Couture
Matt Hughes vs. Chris Lytle
Rich Franklin vs. Jason MacDonald
Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Jason Lambert
Jon Fitch vs. Luigi Fioravanti
Matt Hamill vs. Rex Holman
Martin Kampmann vs. Drew McFedries
Jamie Varner vs. TBA