MIAMI, Fla.- Mike “The Wolverine” Rio (8-1 MMA; 0-0 UFC) will be making his UFC debut next Saturday, December 15th on the TUF 16 Finale. The Wolverine was not given the opportunity to fight on the TUF: Live Finale as a result of an injury incurred during his fight with fellow competitor Andy Ogle. But, all that will change as he faces John Cofer (7-2 MMA; 0-1 UFC) at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
Rio began his career in 2008 with a first round TKO win over Marc Seno (0-2 MMA). Since then he has served up seven wins by KO or Submission, six of which occurred in the first round. In Miami, Rio is something of a local phenom. Arenas are packed with Wolverine fans, often wearing red Mike Rio shirts, designed and produced by the the fighter himself. Rather unknown on the national MMA scene, Rio has become a home grown hero for MMA fans in S. Florida thanks to local promotion Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA). CFA is the promotion that put Rio on the map and gave him his nickname, “The Wolverine,” as a result of his striking resemblance to X-Men’s Hugh Jackman.
“I want the whole world to see what I’m capable of,” said Rio when asked about his upcoming fight. “I didn’t give my best performance on TUF Live because of several injuries, but I’m ready mentally and physically, and everyone will see a different fighter next Saturday. CFA got my career kicked off and I owe them a lot and now its my time to prove that I have what it takes to become the next UFC Lightweight Champion.”
Cofer was knocked out by Justin Lawrence on the TUF: Live Finale and was eliminated from the show in his fight against Vinc Pinchel. “Cofer was a good friend of mine in the house,” indicated Rio. “I had trouble fighting Ogle for that reason, but I won’t make the same mistake this time around. Cofer is a really good fighter and I have a lot of respect for him, but once I’m in cage I will do everything I can to destroy him.”
Rio prepared for this fight by training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center with UFC greats like Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem. “We changed up Mike’s training camp a lot for this fight,” said manager, Tina Vidal-Smith with ML Management. “Mike needed to be pushed to the next level and we new the JHTC coaches like Mario Sperry would do that for him.”
Rio’s fight will take place Saturday, December 15, 2012 for the TUF 16 Finale at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.