UFC washout Anthony Johnson will begin his climb back to the big time when he takes on David Branch in the Titan 22 main event on Fri., May 25, 2012, at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
Kansas City, KS -- Joe Kelly, CEO of Titan Fighting Championship, today confirmed that Anthony "Rumble" Johnson will take on former UFC middleweight fighter Dave Branch in the headlining main event of Titan 22 on Friday May 25 live from Memorial Hall in Kansas City. HDNet will present the main card live starting at 10 p.m. ET.
"Anthony Johnson and David Branch are two of the most aggressive, powerful and athletic middleweights in the world, and to have this as the main event of Titan 22 is a defining moment for this brand," said Kelly. "Titan 22 is going to end with Rumble vs. Branch, but wait until you see the fights leading up to it, there will be more familiar faces and I will be announcing more incredible matchups soon."
"David Branch versus Anthony "Rumble" Johnson is the kind of matchmaking that makes Titan Fighting Championship one of the premier MMA organizations in the world," said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. "Both of these guys have something to prove and they know a win on HDNet puts them right back into the conversation of the top MMA middleweights."
Johnson (10-4-0), former UFC middleweight, is ranked among the top fighters in the world, having competed in the Octagon at both 185 and 170 pounds. He has fought the who's who in the sport including Vitor Belfort, Josh Koscheck, and Dan Hardy. He holds seven wins by KO or TKO, and all but one of his six UFC wins have come by KO/TKO.
"I have a lot of respect for David Branch for taking this fight, but it doesn't really matter who's in the cage with me, because the fight's going to end the same way - with him on the floor and me standing up," said Johnson.
In January, Johnson exited the UFC after he failed to make weight for the co-main event matchup of UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro. In preparation for his upcoming fight with Branch, Johnson has brought on JC Santana, strength and conditioning expert and founder of the world renowned Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida, located near the Blackzilian's new training camp in Delray Beach. Santana will closely work with Johnson on a new weight, diet and strength and conditioning program leading up to his May 25 fight.
"Anthony Johnson has the potential to be one of the biggest stars in the sport, I don't think anyone in the world doubts that including me and so I'm proud to have him as my client," said Santana. "Starting today, I am going to be responsible for anything that goes into Anthony's body. This is a make it or break it camp for Rumble, he has hired me, and we are not going to be messing around. This is a very disciplined and progressive situation and everything that goes into his mouth we are going to monitor, and he is going to weigh in every day. For me, the next eight weeks is Anthony's fight. When he takes the cage on May 25, in my mind, he's already won."
Branch (8-2-0), a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie and three-time Pan American champion, fought four times in the UFC Octagon. The brother of top junior middleweight boxing contender Sechew Powell and former New York Golden Gloves champion Jamelle Hamilton, he hails from a family of athletes and has fighting in his blood. Standing 6'1", Branch is banking on his tenacity, power and New York determination to best Rumble Johnson in their Titan debut on May 25.
"He is a great fighter, and he comes from a great camp, but I've been training for a fight like this all of my life," said Branch. "When May 25 comes, I'm going to put on the best performance of my career and my hand will be raised."