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Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann leads list of recently announced UFC bouts

Catching up with new fights on the UFC docket

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Sam Morris

Brian Stann and Jorge Santiago trade punches during their fight at UFC 130 Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Stann won by TKO.

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Two of the biggest questions in the UFC middleweight division a week ago were whom Chael Sonnen would fight in his return from a suspension and who would get the next shot at rising star Brian Stann.

Turns out Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will fight each other in what could possibly become a bout to determine the top 185-pound contender. Sonnen vs. Stan became the first fight announced for UFC 136, which will take place Oct. 8 in Houston.

“Told the UFC I want to fight the best (and) that’s what they keep giving me, love challenges (and) adversity,” Stann tweeted after the matchup was finalized.

Sonnen is seen as the toughest test of Stann’s career, as the 34-year-old dominated middleweight champion Anderson Silva his last time out before losing via submission in the fifth round at UFC 117.

But Sonnen tested positive for high testosterone levels after the bout and also dealt with legal troubles in Oregon, which has kept him out of competition since last August.

Sonnen is a notorious trash talker who ruthlessly poked fun at Silva and his heritage in the build-up to their fight. But he’s expected to tone it down against Stann, a former Marine, who Sonnen respects.

Sonnen was originally linked to a fight against Silva’s teammate, Lyoto Machida, at light heavyweight before Stann emerged.

“I ask Brazil for a fight, and Machida answers,” Sonnen tweeted. “I ask for a real fight, and a Marine steps up. I see you hiding Lyoto, and I won’t forget this.”

Offshore oddsmakers immediately installed Sonnen as a little more than a 2-to-1 favorite. As impressive as Stann has looked in a three-fight win streak, he hasn’t shown an ability to beat wrestlers of Sonnen’s caliber.

But Stann was also an underdog against Chris Leben earlier this year and some thought the same about his chances in a pick’em fight against Jorge Santiago. Stann knocked both opponents out.

“This guy is getting really good,” UFC President Dana White said. “Not only are his skills getting better, but everything that comes out of this guy’s mouth is a homerun. He’s going to be a superstar.”

Sonnen vs. Stann was the most notable fight announced by the UFC during an off period last week. Below are the other matchups the promotion revealed.

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UFC fighter Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at Travis Barker's Famous Stars and Straps and UFC's The Magic Party and red carpet at XS at the Encore on Feb. 15, 2011.

Bantamweight Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will make his octagon debut at UFC 137 in Las Vegas Oct. 29 against George Roop (12-7-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC). Many consider the Japanese Hioki the second best bantamweight in the world, as he’s gone 11-1-1 since 2008, and Roop is coming off of an upset victory over Josh Grispi at “The Ultimate Fighter” 13 finale.

An injury slid lightweight prospect Charles Oliveira (14-1-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC) into a bout against Donald Cerrone (15-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC on Versus 5 August 14 in Milwaukee. Oliveira and Cerrone have each earned one Fight of the Night bonus this year.

Ed Herman (20-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC) will fight Kyle Noke (19-4-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in a middleweight clash at UFC on Versus 5. Herman is coming off of a win at “The Ultimate Fighter” 13 finale, while Noke last prevailed at UFC 127.

Ken Stone (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Donny Walker (15-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will meet in a bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night 25 Sept. 17 in New Orleans. Stone and Walker are likely fighting to keep their jobs as both are coming off of a defeat at “The Ultimate Fighter” 13 finale and UFC 132, respectively.

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

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