After a lengthy layoff, one of the region's most experienced fighters will return to action next month.
Keith Wisniewski, of Hobart, has been booked for a fight at UFC Fight Night 28 in Brazil. It will be the welterweight's first fight since April 2012. Wisnkewski (28-14-1, 0-3 UFC) will meet Brazilian Marcelo Guimares (8-1-1, 1-1 UFC) on the show's preliminary card.
UFC Fight Night 28 takes place Sept. 4 at Estadio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It will be the UFC's third event on the new Fox Sports 1 cable network.
Wisniewski has been rehabbing from injuries after his split-decision loss to Chris Clements at UFC 145 in Atlanta nearly 16 months ago. It was his second straight loss after earning his way back into the UFC with a six-fight win streak that included a dominant decision win over four-fight UFC veteran Chris Wilson at Hoosier Fight Club 7 in April 2011.
Wisniewski, with his brother Justin, runs the Duneland Vale Tudo camp in Hobart that has produced current UFC featherweight contender Darren Elkins, who fights later this month in Indianapolis. Wisniewski will help corner Elkins on Aug. 28, then fly to Brazil a few days later. The veteran of more than 15 years in mixed martial arts has fought as far away as Russia and Japan, but never Brazil.
His next opponent, Guimares, was unbeaten heading into his UFC debut more than a year ago and beat Dan Stittgen by split decision. But in March, he was knocked out by Lim Hyun-Gyu in Japan for the first loss of his professional career. He'll be looking to get back on track in front of his home fans — and with the knowledge that Brazilian fighters have close to an .800 winning percentage when fighting non-Brazilians in UFC events in their home country.
The fight should prove to be a critical one for Wisniewski. He debuted in the UFC in 2005 at UFC 56 and lost a decision to Nick Thompson. That started a string of five straight setbacks — the latter four of which could have easily gone Wisniewski's way with a pair of split decisions, a majority decision and a corner stoppage that he has maintained he could have continued in.
Wisniewski returned to the UFC in October 2011, but lost to Josh Neer when the cageside doctor stopped the fight after two rounds because of a cut. The loss to Clements followed. In the current UFC environment, two straight losses sometimes can warrant a pink slip from the promotion, so Wisniewski will be fighting to avoid a third straight.
The UFC Fight Night 28 card is headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Ryan Bader and Brazil's Glover Teixeira with a co-main event featuring another standout Brazilian, Ronaldo Souza, who meets former middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami.