Two “top contenders” matches have been added to the UFC 71 card in May. Light heavyweight contenders Keith Jardine and Tito Ortiz will be squaring off in the octagon in the May 26th event as will welterweight contenders Karo Parisyan and Josh Burkman, according to rumors from MMAWeekly.com.
The site currently lists the main event for UFC 71 as Chuck Liddell against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson despite UFC President Dana White saying that this fight would be delayed so Jackson can have some more warmups, likely 1-2 fights before facing the champ.
Tito Ortiz (15-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) against Keith Jardine (12-2-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is a solid matchup between a former UFC champ in Ortiz and a up and comer in Jardine. Both last fought at UFC 66 late in 2006 with Ortiz losing to Chuck Liddell and Jardine beating Forrest Griffin via TKO.
Parisyan (16-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is a welterweight yet again on his way towards a title fight. Had it not been for a decision loss to Diego Sanchez at Fight Night 6 in August he would likely receive a title shot. Parisyan is coming off of a unanimous decision win against Drew Fickett at Fight Night 7 in December.
Burkman (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has won his last two fights against Josh Neer at UFC 61 and most recently against Chad Reiner at Fight Night 8. Both wins came by unanimous decision. His only UFC loss came nearly a year ago when he was submitted by Jon Fitch at Fight Night 4.
Both fights have title implications with the winners potentially getting a title shot. Ortiz or Jardine would face Chuck Liddell while Parisyan or Burkman would face Georges St. Pierre. Here is the full rumored fight card:
Tito Ortiz vs. Keith Jardine
Karo Parisyan vs. Josh Burkman
Eric Schafer vs. Sean Salmon
Chris Leben vs. Kalib Starnes