Previous Article
B.B. King to Headline Two Nights at Intimate Namesake Venue at The Mirage
Next Article
Silverton Casino Lodge Announces Upcoming Headliners

Four Grappling Superfights Featured at UFC Fan Expo

An already loaded UFC FAN EXPO just got some added firepower. UFC President Dana White announced today that this year’s festivities will include four grappling superfights featuring the likes of MMA stars Caol Uno, Hermes Franca, Javier Vazquez, and Fredson Paixao, as well as a much-anticipated women’s contest.

On Friday, May 28 at 1PM PT, ADCC world champion Penny Thomas locks horns with MMA veteran Shayna Baszler in an intriguing women’s matchup. Plus, former UFC star Hermes Franca, a dangerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who owns submission victories over the likes of Nate Diaz, Mike Brown, and Jamie Varner, takes on jiu jitsu phenom Bill “The Grill” Cooper.

Then, on Saturday, May 29 at 1PM PT, UFC star and MMA legend Caol Uno battles WEC contender and four-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion Fredson Paixao in an exciting grappling showdown. If that wasn’t enough, WEC star Javier Vazquez, a Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt, takes on 23-time Grapplers Quest champ Jeff “Pipelayer” Glover in what is sure to be an explosive contest.

“For grappling fans, this is an awesome opportunity to see some of the world’s best ground fighters compete against one another,” said UFC President Dana White.

Tickets for the UFC FAN EXPO , taking place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, are on sale now and can be bought exclusively at This year’s Expo event leads into UFC 114: RAMPAGE vs. EVANS live from MGM Grand Garden Arena, featuring the long-awaited grudge match between former light heavyweight champions Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans.

About The Competitors:

Recognized for his colorful hair, engaging personality, and ferocious fighting spirit, former UFC star Hermes Franca is also widely-respected in grappling circles. A highly-decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Franca returns to grappling competitions at the UFC Fan Expo when he takes on Bill Cooper in an exciting matchup.

At just 23 years old, Bill “The Grill” Cooper is already a grappling sensation. Since earning his black belt from Ricardo Miller at the age of 20, Cooper has won 25 Grapplers Quest titles from around the country. Now teaching in Thousand Oaks, California, Cooper will face one of the toughest tests of his young career in Hermes Franca on May 28.

Penny Thomas is a South African Jiu-jitsu star fighting out of San Diego, Calif. Training under the tutelage of Saulo and Alexandre Ribeiro, Thomas is a two-time Abu Dhabi World Champion, as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and defending Grapplers Quest All-Star Pro Champion. Representing Gracie Humaitá, Thomas is eager to take on Baszler on May 28.

Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler competes out of Sioux Falls, S.D. and owns an MMA record of 11-6. Baszler has scored notable victories over Roxanne Modafferi and Megumi Yabushita in her career and looks to make a big statement with a grappling win over Thomas later this month.

One of the most respected fighters in the history of the sport, Japanese star Caol Uno began his career in 1996 and blazed a trail for lighter weight fighters. Having fought a Who’s Who of MMA, including BJ Penn, Jens Pulver, Rumina Sato, and Dennis Hallman, the 35-year-old has defeated over half of his opponents by submission. The dynamic Uno looks to test his grappling mettle when he battles Fredson Paxaio at the UFC Fan Expo.

Fredson Paixao’s accomplishments in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu speak for themselves. A four-time world champion, the 30-year old from Parintins is considered one of the best grapplers of this era. Now competing in MMA for the WEC, Paixao – who is only the second person in the world to go from purple to black belt in just four years – will get back to his roots by grappling competitively during the UFC Fan Expo.

A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under the late Carlson Gracie, 34-year-old Javier Vazquez ranks among the most gifted grapplers in the world. With nine of his 14 professional MMA victories coming by way of submission, the WEC star vows to put on a show when he takes to the mat against Jeff Glover on May 29.

With 23 Grapplers Quest titles to his name, California’s Jeff Glover has taken the jiu-jitsu world by storm. Add in accolades as a 2008 IBJJF No-Gi World Championship-Silver Medalist, 2008 PacSun Hawaii Absolute/No-Gi/Gi Champion, 2007 IBJJF No-Gi World Championship Gold Medalist, and it’s clear why seeing Glover’s name on the marquee means some high-level jiu-jitsu. Among the best guard players to ever grace the mat, Glover plans to showcase his high-level grappling when he takes on Javier Vazquez later this month.

Please note that all rings of the UFC Fan Expo tournament will be stopped during these Superfights, and that while fans will get to see all the tournament and Superfight action, seating will be limited and handled on a first come, first served basis.

For more UFC Fan Expo information and to purchase tickets, visit For companies interested in reserving space at this premier event, contact Ed Gallo, Event Director at 1-203-840-5546 or email