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Steve Cofield

Heavyweights keep coming, young Czech Vemola debuts at UFC 116

It was once the weakest weight division in the UFC. But more big athletes are starting to gravitate to the promotion. Including the main event between Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar, UFC 116 will feature three heavyweight bouts. Jon Madsen from Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter" is back and faces the unknown Karlos Vemola. Vemola, 24, looks a bit short for the weight class but he packs a lot of muscle on his 230-pound frame.

Vemola (8-0) is a Czech living and fighting out of London Shootfighters. He's won all seven of his fights in the first round. That includes KO's over Bill Georgitsis in five seconds and Marcus Hipp in 15 seconds. Standing across the way in a cage is dangerous and so is washing Vemola's window without asking. The big boy curses out some poor dope looking for a little spare change (above NSFW - 8:50 mark).

His journey to MMA is a familiar one. Vemola is just your typical bouncer turned pro fighter. From Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press:

"I wasn't working in the best area in London," said Vemola. "I was working in north London, in Tottenham ... and I was getting in loads of fights.

"I was having a rough night quite often. That's when I decided, when I met some (pro) fighters, if I'm fighting on the door for free every other night, I might as well do it as a professional and get paid for it and train properly."

That's not to say Vemola is some brawler without a fighting pedigree. He was a highly decorated junior wrestler back in the Czech Republic. His knowledge of how to control his opponent on the ground is evident in this win over Stav Economou. Vemola swarms the chubby fighter and never lets him come up for air.

He's going against a tough cookie in Jon Madsen (5-0). The highly decorated college wrestler actually beat Brock Lesnar in a high-school wrestling match. He was working with Matt Hughes' HIT Squad but recently moved up to Minnesota to train with Lesnar. Vemola isn't impressed.

"Because he's going to try and fight in a similar style as me. I think I'll be able to beat him easily," said Vemola. "Because in the wrestling skills, I'm going to beat him. And hopefully keep him there."

Vemola actually turned down a more lucrative deal with Bellator Fighting to sign a one-year contract with the UFC. He couldn't pass up the added exposure.

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