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Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt and Rampage Jackson vs. Stephan Bonnar Rumored For UFC 144 (Update)

A pair of interesting fights are being rumored for UFC’s upcoming Japan card on Feb. 26.

First up is Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt. This match-up has been making the rounds on the rumor mill for the past week, but MMA Weekly was the first outlet to report that the bout has been verbally agreed to by both parties.

A heavyweight bout between Chieck Kongo and Mark Hunt has been verbally agreed to for UFC 144 in Japan, although independent sources told that no contracts have been signed as of yet.

The fight makes sense. Mark Hunt made his name in Japan and pairing him with Kongo should make for a fun stand-up battle.

The next match-up isn’t quite as certain. Rampage Jackson has been lobbying for a spot on the Japan card for awhile now, hoping for a rematch with Shogun Rua, but that might be too quick of a turnaround for Shogun who just went through the most brutal fight of his career. That’s alright though, because Stephan Bonnar said he wants the fight at UFC 144, and according to Dana White, Rampage is all about it too.

“Rampage texted me tonight and said he wants to fight him too,” White said about a potential fight with Stephan Bonnar. “I don’t know we’ll see”

Rumors have placed Rampage as a leading candidate to fill a slot on the upcoming UFC 144 card in Japan.

Rampage is typically thought of being on a higher level in the light heavyweight pecking order, but I don’t see anything wrong with the match-up. Considering Rampage just lost a title fight to Jon Jones, there’s no reason to throw Rampage back in with the upper echelon of the division just yet. Plus, Bonnar is riding a three-fight win streak against mid-tier competition, so why not? Throw them in there and see what happens. If nothing else, I bet a good fight would break out.

Image via Masa Fukui for Sherdog

Update: If Rampage Jackson fights Stephan Bonnar next, it won’t be in Japan. Rampage tweeted the news earlier today.

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Another interesting tidbit for the Japan card. Brian Stann told MMA Sucka he thought he was going to fight DREAM Super Hulk Champion Ikuhisa Minowa, aka Minowaman, on the card.

“I thought I was fighting on the UFC card in Tokyo. I thought I was going to fight a gentleman by the name of Ikuhisa Minowa or “Minowaman” (51-32-8) and unfortunately, you know, the fight didn’t happen. He actually asked to fight me. I agreed and then for some reason it just didn’t materialize.”

A profile for Minowaman actually appeared on yesterday which led people to believe he had signed with them, however Real Entertainment, the people who run DREAM, shot that rumor down. Minowaman in the UFC, even if it was only for UFC 144, would have been something.

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