After the success of ProElite's inaugural show under new ownership, promotion officials have targeted November 5th at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois for their next major event. The first round of an eight-man heavyweight tournament is scheduled to headline the card, with UFC veterans littering the announced matchups of Tim Sylvia (29-7) vs. Pedro Rizzo (19-9) and Andrei Arlovski (16-9) vs. Travis Fulton (247-48-10). ProElite veteran Mark Ellis (1-0) is also among the announced competitors.
According to reports by MMA Fighting, the event, dubbed ProElite II, will additionally feature the return of Reagan Penn -- brother of former UFC champion B.J. Penn -- and top-10 women's flyweight Tara LaRosa.
Should Sylvia and Arlovski both emerge victorious from the quarter-finals, a fourth matchup between the former UFC champions would be likely. Arlovski first defeated Sylvia in early 2005 to win the interim UFC's heavyweight belt, before losing it a year later in a rematch with "The Maine-iac." Arlovski lost once more just two months later in the pair's rubber match, dropping a sluggish five-round unanimous decision at UFC 61.
Sylvia has since moved on to uninspired results, inflating to super heavyweight while dropping three out of seven fights since being cut by the UFC -- including a notorious 32-second TKO loss to the unheralded Abe Wagner in January. Though the 35-year-old recently rebounded with a first-round knockout of Patrick Barrentine at Illinois' Fight Tour event.
He now faces Rizzo, a standout from the early days of the UFC with notable victories over Mark Coleman, Andrei Arlovski, Ricco Rodriguez, Ken Shamrock, and Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix finalist Josh Barnett. Nicknamed "The Rock," the 37-year-old Brazilian will appear for the first time in 2011, but enters on a three-fight upswing stretching back to 2009 that includes wins over Jeff Monson and Gary Goodridge.
Meanwhile, Arlovski enters the tournament on the heels of a third round knockout of Ray Lopez at ProElite's inaugural main event. The win was the Belarusian's first since 2008, and snapped a disastrous four-fight losing streak that included three first-round knockouts at the hands of Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, and Sergei Kharitonov. Prior to the slump, the 32-year-old had rolled off five straight wins, capped by a second-round stoppage of "The Ultimate Fighter 10" winner Roy Nelson.
Across the cage, Travis Fulton makes his third appearance of 2011 after earning two consecutive stoppage victories at Iowa Challenge 62 and 63. Known as "The Ironman," the 34-year-old is one of the busiest men in mixed martial arts, having accumulated over 300 professional fights to his name, as well as 38 professional boxing contests. As one would expect, Fulton's lengthy record is littered with tussles against future UFC fighters, including losses to Renato Sobral, Ricco Rodriguez, Evan Tanner, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Jeremy Horn, and Ben Rothwell, as well as wins over Joe Riggs and Heath Herring.