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UFC Notebook: UFC 129 sells 55,000 tickets immediately

Georges St. Pierre will headline the biggest UFC event in the history of the organization

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Sam Morris

Georges St. Pierre has his arm raised after defeating Thiago Alves in their welterweight title fight at UFC 100. St. Pierre won by decision to retain his title.

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It took less than a week for UFC 129 to break and more than double the organization’s record for ticket sales.

UFC 129, which will be April 30 in Toronto, Canada, at the Rogers Centre, sold out its allotment of 55,000 tickets within minutes of their release to the public Saturday morning.

“UFC continues to set new milestones,” said UFC President Dana White in a statement. “We’ve sold 55,000 tickets in our first stadium event in Toronto and we continue to take the UFC to the next level.”

UFC’s previous attendance record came in December of last year when more than 23,000 fans attended UFC 124 in Montreal, Canada. With UFC 129 ticket prices ranging from $50 to $800, the event will also crush the UFC’s previous gate record. UFC 66, which took place in 2006 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, has long-held that distinction with a $5.4 million gate.

UFC 129 will feature two title fights — one between welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Jake Shields and the other pitting featherweight champion Jose Aldo against challenger Mark Hominick — and a light heavyweight bout between Randy Couture and Lyoto Machida as its headlining contests.

It’s the first major mixed martial arts card ever to be held in Ontario and the first time UFC has ventured into a stadium setting. Most of the tickets were gone earlier this week when the UFC held a pre-sale for members of its fan club.

St. Pierre not looking ahead to impending megafight with Anderson Silva

Much of the talk around mixed martial arts in the last week has centered on the potential fight between pound-for-pound kings Anderson Silva and Georges St Pierre.

After Silva knocked out Vitor Belfort with a memorable kick at UFC 126, White said his next opponent would be St. Pierre. Provided, of course, St. Pierre gets by Shields in Toronto.

St. Pierre swore he wasn’t listening to any of the anticipation at a fan event to promote UFC 129.

“I made a mistake in the past, looking past an opponent, and I’m never going to do that again. The last time I did that, I got beat by Matt Serra,” St. Pierre told the Toronto Star. “It would be foolish to look past Jake Shields.”

The loss to Serra in 2007 is one of only two defeats in St. Pierre’s UFC career, with the other coming against Matt Hughes in 2004. Silva, the middleweight champion, is a perfect 13-0 in the UFC.

According to White, St. Pierre will vacate his welterweight title and move to middleweight permanently if he gets past Shields.

UFC 130 lineup set — kind of

UFC announced the main card for its May pay-per-view event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last week, but it may already be reshuffled.

This much is certain: A third matchup between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard will headline the card on May 28. Edgar, the champion, and Maynard, the challenger, will fight for the lightweight belt after their meeting at UFC 125 ended in a draw. Maynard beat Edgar in a 2008 bout.

A heavyweight fight between Las Vegas locals Roy Nelson and Frank Mir is also slated for UFC 130, while a welterweight matchup between Rick Story and Thiago Alves appears set to go.

UFC announced Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would meet Thiago Silva in the co-Main Event, but several MMA media outlets have since reported that Silva is off the card. Rumors persist that Jackson could instead face Rashad Evans or Matt Hamill.

Also, Brian Stann and Wanderlei Silva will meet in a middleweight bout according to the UFC. But Stann recently tweeted that he was “still waiting for an opponent but UFC 130 looks like the date.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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