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Aussie sets sights on UFC title
by Adam Ireland, WWOS
09:00 AEST Wed Dec 15 2010
Australian fighter George Sotiropoulos.
Australian fighter George Sotiropoulos has his sights set on the UFC Lightweight Championship title.
What will Jarryd Hayne, Danny Green and Israel Folau be doing on February 27, 2011?

Amid preparing for another NRL season, sparring in the ring or pushing the new Greater Western Sydney AFL team at a fan day, these notable sportsmen will join many others to support a tough-as-nails Australian fighter at Sydney's Acer arena for UFC 127.

The UFC staged its first mixed martial arts event in Sydney earlier this year, and with tickets selling out faster than the Green v Anthony Mundine boxing bout in 2006, a lot of attention is on their return visit.

We Aussies like to think we have a decent crack at most sports, and thanks to a local boy named George Sotiropoulos we have someone to truly get behind.

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Boasting an undefeated record in the UFC, this guy can fight. When we say fight, we don't mean a State of Origin style cheap shot or a Mundine jab-and-run points victory. If local fans get their way, he will kick, punch, wrestle, choke, submit or ground-and-pound his way to victory, becoming the number one contender for the UFC Lightweight Championship.

If Twenty20 cricket is the results-driven evolution of one day cricket, then UFC is the rock 'n roll version of boxing. Slow fights are sped up by competent referees, there are $100,000 bonuses for the 'fight of the night' combatants and fighters can't hide behind a protective manager. So the best fighters fight each other, period.

In the eyes of many, Sotiropoulos well and truly deserves his shot at the lightweight title, but rather than plead his case to UFC boss Dana White, he is set to continue to let his work in the octagon do the talking for him.

German fighter Dennis Siver is all that stands between Sotiropoulos and a coveted fight for the belt. Siver will come to Sydney as the underdog, but most expect Sotiropoulos to be respectfully prepared for his second UFC fight on home turf. Should he take down yet another opponent, the charismatic UFC President should give 16,000-odd screaming Aussie fans exactly what they want – a title shot for their local lad.

The main event of the card will feature the former two division champion BJ 'The Prodigy' Penn taking on Jon Fitch. Fresh off an impressive first round (21-second) knockout of Matt Hughes, Penn will look to work his way toward the top of his division once again. His opponent Fitch is rumoured to be one win away from a title shot in the welterweight division, adding spice to what is already a highly anticipated bout.

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