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Gamburyan looking for big win against Nunes

Mixed martial arts: Glendale-trained fighter and Brazilian foe lead off UFC 141 today in Las Vegas.

December 30, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

Bad blood will spill over into the octagon tonight, as featherweights Manny Gamburyan and Diego Nunes look to settle an old score in the first bout of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem.

Headlined by a blockbuster heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Allistair Overeem in the main event of the pay-per-view card emanating from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the night will conclude with the two mastodons weighing in at more than 500 combined pounds and lead off with two 145-pounders in the Glendale-trained Gamburyan and Nunes.

"All my fights are big for me, I don't take anyone lightly," Gamburyan said on Thursday night, not long after the UFC weigh-ins. "Diego Nunes is a legit fighter, I have to take him very seriously.

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"I'm pumped, I just can't wait to face him."

As the story goes, during an autograph appearance ahead of Gamburyan's Sept. 2010 bout with Jose Aldo, Nunes, signing a promotional poster with Gamburyan's image emblazoned upon it, signed his name across Gamburyan's face — an unwritten no-no. Gamburyan, who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, took immediate umbrage and has asked for the fight ever since.

"It's not like I don't like him, he just disrespected me," Gamburyan said. "It motivated me."

Though Nunes has said in past interviews that he was distracted during the signing and meant no disrespect, he has welcomed Gamburyan's challenge and has followed it with harsh words.

"Manny, come fight me," Nunes said in a recent ufc.com interview. "You said you wanted to fight me, so now come on. I will knock you out like you've never been knocked out before."

Adding to the intrigue and stipulation of the match for Gamburyan is that the former "The Ultimate Fighter" finalist enters it on a two-fight losing skid with a third loss perhaps likely to bring upon his UFC release.

"I need a 'W' and a 'W' only to [stay] in the UFC," Gamburyan said.

The 30-year-old Gamburyan's career record stands at 11-6 after consecutive losses to Tyson Griffin at UFC Live 4 on June 26 in a close majority decision and on Sept. 30, 2010, when he was knocked out by Aldo in a World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight title bout.

Aldo, the current UFC featherweight titlist after the company absorbed the WEC, is the undisputed division kingpin and also the training partner of Nunes.

"And I'm second. I'm No. 2 in the world," Nunes said in the ufc.com interview.

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