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Former UFC champion Rodriguez set to take on Warpath at May 8 PFC event

A heavyweight bout between former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez and Ruben “Warpath” Villareal has been signed for a Palace Fighting Championships event in Lemoore, Calif. on May 8. learned of the matchup after speaking to a source close to one of the fighters Wednesday afternoon.

The PFC show on May 8 will mark the second career matchup between Rodriguez and Villareal. The two previously met in 2005 at an Extreme Wars X-1 event that saw Rodriguez submit Villareal with an armbar at 2:38 of round 1.

Rodriguez, the former Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew reality television star, holds notable wins in his career over Gary Goodridge, Paul Buentello, Andrei Arlovski, and Randy Couture. Once considered to be one of the top heavyweight fighters in the world until substance abuse and weight issues began to take a toll on his career.

Currently 34-10 in a pro MMA career that began in 1994, Rodriguez is 5-1 in his last six fights with notable wins over former IFO heavyweight champion Chris Guillen and Cage Rage veteran Rob Broughton. In recent years, Rodriguez has been featured on nationally televised events for EliteXC and the ill-fated YAMMA Pit Fighting.

Villareal, 14-14-3, is well-known for his propensity towards receiving and accepting offers for fights at the last minute. However, he will have three months to prepare for Rodriguez. The California native recently recently returned to active competition after being reinstated following a one-year suspension.

He was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs following a first round TKO loss to Jimmy Ambriz during a WCO event November of 2007. Villareal’s return took place at a Fight Quest event on Jan. 31 where he was able to record a unanimous decision victory over EliteXC veteran Mike Cook.

Villareal might be best known for stepping in as a late replacement for Kimo as an opponent for Bas Rutten during a WFA pay-per-view event in June of 2006. Villareal was knocked out by the former UFC heavyweight champion with a kick at 3:24 of round 1.


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