Friday, May 22, 2009 | 5:30 p.m.
UFC 98 got a little bit closer Friday, as 21 fighters tipped the scales in anticipation of Saturday’s 11-bout fight card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Replacement fighter Mike Pyle, who is filling in for Chris Wilson and trains out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, was the only fighter not at the weigh-in due to late notice.
Defending light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans received the most noise from the crowd, mostly positive. “Sugar” entered the Grand Garden Arena wearing headphones and opened his arms on stage, welcoming the crowd to get louder.
“We’re going to put on a good fight and leave it all out there,” said Evans, who weighed in at 205 pounds.
“That’s all that matters.”
Challenger Lyoto Machida, came in at 204 pounds. “The Dragon," a karate specialist, gave his customary bow to Evans.
“I have trained hard for this fight. I am calm,” Machida told the crowd. “Please cheer for me tomorrow night.”
While the majority of applause is usually reserved for the main event, the co-main event of Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra certainly seems to be just as intriguing to fight fans as the light heavyweight championship.
Serra weighed in at 171 pounds and received an equal mix of boos and cheers.
The result was the same for two-time welterweight champion Hughes, except louder. Hughes weighed in at 170 pounds.
Following staring each other down for photographers, Hughes and Serra did not shake hands before exiting the stage.
As always, UFC commentator Joe Rogan was on-hand to announce the fighters as well as “The voice of the Octagon,” Bruce Buffer.
Action starts Saturday at 4:45, with the doors opening at 4 p.m.