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Local fighter Robert Drysdale placed on UFC’s 20th anniversary card


Mixed martial arts fighter Robert Drysdale takes a moment to rest during his training session at JSECT Modern Martial Arts in this file photo from 2008.

Updated Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 | 9:10 p.m.

Las Vegas-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Robert Drysdale will make his UFC debut at home after all.

Drysdale, who owns and operates a well-known jiu-jitsu gym at Rainbow Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, meets Cody Donovan in a light heavyweight bout as part of UFC 167 Nov. 16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. UFC officials confirmed the pairing Thursday evening.

Donovan is 1-1 in the octagon, losing via first-round knockout to Ovince St. Preux at UFC Fight Night 26 in his last appearance. His biggest fear will be going to the ground against Drysdale, who has submitted all six of his previous opponents on cards of smaller promotions in the first round.

Drysdale has also won world championships in jiu-jitsu and trains some of the UFC’s biggest draws in the discipline. He signed with the UFC this summer and was expected to debut against Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro.

An injury forced Drysdale to pull out of the bout, enabling him to instead take part in the UFC’s 20th anniversary card. The event adds Drysdale vs. Donovan, a likely preliminary-card bout, on the same day it lost a main-card heavyweight meeting between Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir.

Overeem and Mir will hold off on their fight until Feb. 1, 2014 in Newark, N.J., at UFC 169. UFC 167 tickets are currently on sale through ticketmaster.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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