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Local Pyle overcomes hefty odds

Despite a considerable edge in experience, Mike Pyle entered his welterweight bout against John Hathaway on Saturday night in London as by far the biggest underdog on the card.

The 35-year-old Las Vegan left England with the biggest win of his Ultimate Fighting Championship career.

Pyle, who plus-350 or more at sports books, controlled every round against the previously undefeated Hathaway on his way to a unanimous decision.

He wasn’t shy about instigating the fans on Hathaway’s home turf, either.

Pyle entered the cage to the song “Born in the U.S.A.”

“I just rubbed it in their face, and on top of that, I just smashed their number one boy,” Pyle said in a video on the UFC’s website. “He never had a chance tonight. Not even for one second.”

It was a huge victory for Pyle, a former World Extreme Cagefighting champion who was just 2-2 since finally being signed by the UFC after stints in the International Fight League, EliteXC and Affliciton as well as a slew of minor organizations.

Pyle was seen as just another steppingstone for Hathaway, a 23-year-old former rugby player who was coming off a victory over Diego Sanchez.

“I just whupped his ass, hands down. He’s not the first undefeated kid I handed their first defeat to,” Pyle said. “Everything Hathaway is good at, I’m better. Tonight I was able to prove that.”

■ UFC 125 OFFICIAL — The UFC officially announced UFC 125 will take place at the MGM Grand on Jan. 1 and feature a lightweight title bout between champion Frankie Edgar and Las Vegan Gray Maynard.

It will be the first championship opportunity for the undefeated Maynard, who handed Edgar his only loss, by unanimous decision in 2008.

The card will also feature a heavyweight showdown between Shane Carwin and Las Vegan Roy Nelson. Carwin fought Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title this year, and Nelson was one win away from a title bout before losing to Junior dos Santos in August.

The winner could propel himself back into contention, while the loser will fall well back in the pecking order.

Tickets for UFC 125 go on sale Saturday.

■ KAMPMANN SLIGHTED — Jake Shields will make his UFC debut Saturday in Anaheim, Calif., and has essentially been announced as the No. 1 contender to the welterweight title with a victory.

The same has not yet been said of his opponent, Martin Kampmann.

The Las Vegan, who trains with Maynard and Pyle at Xtreme Couture, doesn’t think that’s fair.

“I feel I’ve been working my way up, too,” Kampmann said. “So, I mean, if Jake can get his title shot beating me, I feel I should get a title shot beating him as well.”

Kampmann has won four of five bouts since dropping to 170 pounds.

Saturday’s bout is part of the UFC 121 pay-per-view card headlined by a heavyweight title bout between Cain Velasquez and champion Brock Lesnar.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

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