Speculation has been rife for a while that Jess "The Joker" Liaudin will be squaring off against a Swede in his 155-pound debut in the UFC. Although Per Eklund fits the bill, he will actually be squaring off against fellow countryman David Bielkheden, who will also be cutting from welterweight.
"I don't care about going to the ground in this next one, I am going out there to knock him out!" commented the honorary Brit when asked about the matchup, adding, "I have seen his fights and I think it is a very good match for me. My wrestling is stronger and so is my striking."
The match with Bielkheden comes off the back of comments the Swede made about dropping a weight class following his mauling by The Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez and will be his first time adjusting to the weight. Liaudin by contrast made the trip to 155 before when he was scheduled to face Gesias Calvancante in Cage Rage, but a bout of food poisoning after the weigh-in scuppered plans.
"I made that cut last time, but in the wrong way. With what I know now and the people behind me things will be very different this time. I always thought I would be a good fighter at welterweight, but I know I can go all the way at lightweight," clarified Liaudin.
He assessed his options following the Paul Taylor fight and was convinced that the new weight division would prove to be a new lease on life for his career, but Liaudin wanted to do it the correct way. He bypassed the chance of taking on Kurt Pellegrino in order to concentrate fully on the task ahead rather than be rash. "That fight would have given me three weeks to prepare and I didn't think that was enough."
The UFC 89 fight card for Birmingham, England is coming together with matches such as these being inked.