Rousey sees acting career build steam

Even before her first movie roles hit the big screen, Ultimate Fighting Championship star Ronda Rousey has become a hot commodity in Hollywood.

The 27-year-old filmed roles in the upcoming films “The Expendables 3” and “The Fast and the Furious 7” before her last fight.

Reports from the sets of both films were overwhelmingly positive about her performance and on-screen persona.

According to Hollywood publication Variety, her surging popularity and positive word-of-mouth about her acting helped convince Warner Brothers to cast Rousey in two major projects.

In addition to a featured role in “Entourage,” Rousey has been attached as the lead in the potential franchise “Athena Project.”

The big screen adaptation of “Entourage” is expected to begin filming not long after Rousey’s next title defense against Sara McMann in the main event of UFC 170 at Mandalay Bay on Feb. 22.

“Athena Project” will be further down the road. The script, based on the book by Brad Thor, is not yet written.

“The Expendables 3” is set to be released on Aug. 15.

■ WSOF UNDERCARD — Las Vegas-based World Series of Fighting has finalized the undercard for its ninth event, scheduled for March 29 at Hard Rock Hotel.

Each of the six preliminary card fights feature at least one local fighter and several pit locals against each other.

Two bantamweight bouts feature Las Vegans fighting each other. Rudy Morales will fight Jimmy Jones and Bryson Hansen takes on Sean Cantor. Las Vegas-based welterweights Phil Dace and Danny Davis meet on the card, as will local lightweights Jimmy Spicuzza and Gil Guardado.

Local featherweight John Gunderson, a UFC veteran, will fight Chris Gruetzemacher. The event includes Las Vegan A.J. Williams making his professional debut against lightweight Tanner Cowan.

■ JOHNSON RETURNS — Anthony Johnson signed a contract to return to the UFC after going 6-0 with four knockouts in the two years since he was released.

He will fight Phil Davis in a light heavyweight bout at UFC 172 on April 26 in Baltimore.

Johnson originally competed in the UFC as a welterweight, but missed weight on several occasions. In his last fight in the organization in January 2012, Johnson moved up to middleweight and once again missed weight for a scheduled fight with Vitor Belfort.

Johnson was released after losing that fight in the first round.

■ LION FIGHT 13 — Popular Muay Thai fighter Tiffany Van Soest was dealt the first defeat of her career in a split decision loss to Caley Reece on the Lion Fight 13 card at Hard Rock Hotel on Friday night.

During the event, Lion Fight announced MMA fighter Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will return to the organization to fight Jorina Baars at Lion Fight 14 on March 28 at Hard Rock Hotel.

■ POPOVITCH SPEAKS — The “other man” in the domestic drama that resulted in the arrest of Thiago Silva on Thursday night issued a statement on his Facebook page that closely mirrors information that was included in the police report.

Silva was released from the UFC on Friday just hours after he was taken into custody following a standoff at his south Florida home.

The incident allegedly began at the jiu-jitsu academy run by Pablo Popovitch, who according to the police report, is involved in a romantic relationship with Silva’s estranged wife, Thaysa.

Popovitch posted the message on Friday evening.

“During our evening class, at around 7:45 p.m, Thiago Silva was outside sitting in his car honking the horn non-stop. Thaysa went outside to talk to Thiago to understand what was happening and saw a gun. After that, I went to see what was happening and also saw that he had a gun. He seemed to be under the influence of some type of drug whether alcohol or drugs. My staff notified the police at that time, and soon after the police arrived. He took off and the police went after him. Thaysa has been separated and living alone since December 2012. Thiago has been charged with battery in the past and was seeing other girls and moving on with his own life. It’s very unfortunate that this had to happen, the last thing I wanted us to see (was) Thiago in this manner. I wish him all the best and hope this will soon be over.”

Silva is being held without bail on charges of aggravated battery and obstruction without violence.

Silva was scheduled to fight Ovince St. Preux at UFC 171 in Dallas next month. Nikita Krylov has agreed to drop down from heavyweight to fight St. Preux at light heavyweight.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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