With the Ultimate Fighting Championship set to showcase featherweight champion Jose Aldo Jr in Calgary, the organization will also take the opporutunity to display some potential contenders in the division.
A source has informed me that Canadian 145 lbs veteran Antonio “Pato” Carvalho (18-5) has been added to the card, and will face American George Roop (12-9-1).
Carvalho made his octagon debut vs hometown favourite Felipe Arantes at UFC 142 in Brazil, in what many felt was a no-win scenario for the Canadian. Competing in Rio was no easy task, especially with a hostile crowd that roared whenever Arantes would so much as blink at Carvalho, while the Canadian’s attacks were met with the sound of “crickets”. Perhaps the Pickering, Ontario native will see a polar opposite effect when he finally competes for the big show on his home soil on Saturday, July 21st.
While Carvalho holds victories over big names like Hatsu Hioki, Rumina Sato and “Lion” Takeshi Inoue, he will have his hands full with his opponent from south of the border. Roop’s last five bouts may show a record of 2-3, but that could easily be reversed.
Losses to Mark Hominick and Cub Swanson aside, George defeated Josh Grispi and “The Korean Zombie”, Chan Sung Jung as a heavy underdog, just like in his bout vs Hatsu Hioki, who many (including yours truly) scored it for the American, as opposed to the highly touted Japanese veteran.
Both Carvalho and Roop pose underrated striking styles, similar to their under appreciated ground game(s). And with the featherweight division in dire need of challenges to the champ, the winner of this tilt will likely be thrust forward by the many who will be tuning in to the UFC’s return to the “Mecca of MMA”.
Here’s a look at the rest of the card for UFC 144, which will take place on Saturday, July 21st at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta:
- UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo Jr vs TBA
- Welterweight bout: Thiago Alves vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
- Middleweight bout: Nick Ring vs. Court McGee
- Featherweight bout: Antonio Carvalho vs George Roop
- Bantamweight bout: Bryan Caraway vs. Mitch Gagnon
- Lightweight bout: Mitch Clarke vs. Anton Kuivanen