For the third straight fight, Darren Elkins will head overseas for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Elkins (18-5, 8-4 UFC) will return to action in October for the first time in 10 months when he meets Scotland’s Robert Whiteford (12-2, 2-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 76 in Ireland.
The event takes place Oct. 24 at The O2 in Dublin. The entire card will stream live on UFC Fight Pass, the promotion’s online subscription-based digital network (subscriptions are $9.99 per month and are available at UFCFightPass.com).
Elkins, a state champion wrestler at Portage who now trains at the Duneland Vale Tudo camp in Hobart, most recently fought in December, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Hacran Dias in Dias’ home country of Brazil. It was Elkins’ second straight fight in Brazil. In October 2014, he beat Brazil’s Lucas Martins by split decision to get back in the win column after a decision loss to Jeremy Stephens in Chicago in January 2014.
Elkins — “The Damage” — has alternated wins and losses since March 2013, when a TKO of Antonio Carvalho gave him five straight UFC wins since dropping from lightweight to featherweight. But the 31-year-old has never lost two straight fights in MMA and will be looking to avoid that fate against Whiteford.
Whiteford has back-to-back UFC victories after a submission loss in his promotional debut nearly two years ago. He outpointed Daniel Pineda in March 2014, then returned after a lengthy injury layoff and knocked out Paul Redmond in front of his home fans in Scotland in July. Against Elkins, he’ll be fighting close to home again.
Lineup set for next week’s HFC 25 at Horseshoe Casino: For just the third time in 25 events, Hoosier Fight Club will venture outside Porter County next week, and the show will have a decidedly Chicagoland feel to it.
HFC 25 takes place Sept. 25 at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. The card will feature four fighters from Midwest Training Center in Schaumburg, and another four from the camp in Crystal Lake run by Jeff Curran, a veteran of the UFC, Bellator, and the now-defunct Strikeforce, WEC and Pride.
HFC has done 20 straight shows at Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso and hasn’t been to The Venue since HFC 2 in January 2010. (It also did HFC 4 at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.)
Two titles will be on the line at the top of the bill. In the headliner, Marion’s Brady Hovermale (10-5) returns for the first time since HFC 9 to take on Oliver Vazquez (4-1) for the 145-pound title. And in the co-main event, Kenneth Glenn (6-2), coming off a TKO stoppage of local standout Dustin Pape at HFC 23, fights Jose Mariscal (2-0) for the lightweight title.
International star Rousey to headline stadium show in Australia: Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champion and arguably the biggest crossover star in MMA history, will likely make some more history Down Under in November.
Rousey will headline UFC 193 against former pro boxer Holly Holm at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. The stadium can hold upwards of 70,000 fans, and stadium and UFC officials believe the card will be a sellout.
If that happens, the UFC will have a new attendance record, eclipsing the nearly 56,000 fans who packed into Rogers Centre in Toronto in April 2011 for UFC 129. That event did a promotion-best gate of $11 million.
Rousey’s star has skyrocketed in 2015. Along with appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, she released a best-selling autobiography, appeared in the “Entourage” movie and “Furious 7,” won two ESPY Awards, sold the rights for her book to a movie that she’ll star in, appeared at WrestleMania 31 alongside The Rock, did guest spots on virtually every late-night talk show, and even announced her fight against Holm in a live spot on “Good Morning America.”
The UFC has said she is the promotion’s highest-paid fighter, taking into consideration the non-disclosed tallies for pay-per-view points, endorsement deals and discretionary “locker room” bonuses.