Former IFL light heavyweight and current Miletich Fighting Systems product Mike Ciesnolevicz has signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and will debut in a heavyweight bout vs. Neil Grove at UFC 95.
MMA Weekly was first to report the news and FiveOuncesOfPain.com has since confirmed the story with sources close to both fighters.
UFC 95 in scheduled for Saturday, February 21 at the O2 Arena in London, England. The debuting Grove had been scheduled to fight Justin McCully but McCully has been forced to withdraw due to injury.
A former light heavyweight title challenger in the IFL, Ciesnolevicz will move up to heavyweight in order to replace McCully on short notice. A five-year veteran of the sport, the six foot Ciesnolevicz has accumulated a 16-3 record and holds notable wins in his career over Alex Schoenauer, Aaron Stark, and Brent Beauparlant.
His opponent, Grove, is 6-1 and comes from a background in Karate. The 6’6” behemoth might be best known for his 10 second knockout victory over James Thompson during his Cage Rage debut in July of 2007. The win was considered to be an upset at the time, as Grove was signed to the card as a last-minute replacement and he had fought just two times prior.
Following the Thompson victory, Grove would go on to win his next two bouts via first round stoppages, improving to 5-0. However, he suffered the first blemish on his record following a decision loss to Rob Broughton at Cage Rage 25. Grove would rebound at Cage Rage 27 this past July, where he recorded his second career TKO victory over Robert “Buzz” Berry.
UFC 95 will be televised on Spike TV and feature main card matchups involving Diego Sanchez taking on Joe Stevenson in Sanchez’s debut at lightweight; Josh Koscheck squaring off with the debuting Paulo Thiago; middleweights Nathan Marquardt and Wilson Gouveia going head-to-head; Demian Maia putting his undefeated record on the line again Chael Sonnen; and welterweights Dan Hardy and Rory Markham in action against each other as well.
The non-televised undercard will feature Junior dos Santos vs. Stefan Struve, David Baron vs. Per Eklund, Shannon Gugerty vs. Jeff Lawson, Justin Buchholz vs. Terry Etim, and Paul Kelly vs. Troy Mandaloniz in addition to Ciesnolevicz vs. Grove.