TORONTO - After putting on the best performance of his career, Sam Stout’s life was turned upside down by the loss of his trainer, Shawn Tompkins.
At UFC 131 in Vancouver on June 11, Stout put veteran fighter Yves Edwards to sleep with a beautiful left hook. But two months later, Tompkins died of a heart attack in his sleep.
After taking time off to mourn and rebuild Team Tompkins, Stout will return to the octagon against Thiago Tavares at UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Jan. 14.
“It’s been a big adjustment not having Shawn around,” Stout told QMI Agency while signing autographs at the MMA Expo Saturday. “It’s been tough trying to deal with a training camp without him, but he’s taught us so much over the years and we just have to step up. We all have to be there for each other, but we’re getting by.
“At this stage of the game, we’ve brought in a couple new guys, but we’re not trying to replace Shawn. That’s not possible. If anybody is going to replace him, it’s going to be all of us collectively. It’s not going to be one person.”
Despite everything that has gone on in his personal life, Stout doesn’t feel he’s lost any momentum in the cage.
“(The Edwards) fight gave me a lot of confidence,” Stout said. “Especially since I’m going into a fight against (Tavares), who has been knocked out a few times. I’m definitely going to be looking for that knockout.
“I feel like I’m still carrying momentum coming into this fight.”
UFC ON FOX
Three high-profile fights have been announced for the UFC’s return to Fox.
The main event will see Rashad Evans take on Phil Davis. The two were originally set to headline UFC 133 in August, but a knee injury forced Davis off the card. Evans stayed on, scoring an impressive TKO victory over Tito Ortiz.
Chael Sonnen will meet Mark Munoz in the co-main event, with the winner earning a shot at middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Many speculated a rematch with Silva was in the cards for Sonnen after he dismantled the surging Brian Stann. However, Silva will be out of action until June due to bursitis in his shoulder.
Hot off a third-round TKO victory over Jason (Mayhem) Miller, Michael Bisping will face submission specialist Demian Maia.
UFC on Fox 2 will take place at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 28. It will air on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada.
ULTIMATE FIGHTER UPDATE
Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will coach opposite rival Urijah Faber on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
The 15th season of the MMA reality show will feature a new format, where clips are shown to summarize the week’s training and the fights are broadcast live.
“We’re producing ground-breaking television with The Ultimate Fighter Live and we can’t wait to kick this season off with FX in March,” UFC President Dana White said. “It’s going to be can’t-miss TV. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber are two incredible personalities who also happen to be two of the best fighters in the world. They genuinely dislike each other and I expect this to make for the best season yet.”
The coming season will kick off with a two-hour premiere on March 9. The reality show will then air one-hour episodes every Friday for the next 11 weeks. A three-hour finale will take place June 1 and Cruz will defend his title against Faber in mid-2012.