EDMONTON - Cut by the UFC after his loss to Chris Tuchscherer last month, heavyweight Tim (The Thrashing Machine) Hague returns to action Friday night in front of a hometown crowd.
The former kindergarten teacher takes on American Ed Carpenter at TFC 10: High Octane at the Shaw Conference Centre.
It's been less than six weeks since Hague lost a majority decision to Tuchscherer but the six-foot-four Canadian said he couldn't wait to fight again.
"I was healthy and felt like I kind of robbed in my last fight, so I wanted to get back in there immediately," he said in an interview Thursday after cutting eight pounds to make the 265-pound limit.
After two lacklustre rounds against Tuchscherer, Hague came out swinging in the third. The round was one-way traffic, but Hague was unable to finish his opponent off.
The judges scored it 29-28, 29-28 and 28-28 for Tuchscherer with one judge giving Hague a 10-8 advantage in the third for the tie score. The crowd at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas booed the verdict and Hague believes he merited at least a draw.
Ryan (The Real Deal) Ford (11-2) defends his TFC welterweight title against Tommy (Farm Boy) Speer in the main event of the mixed martial arts card Friday. Speer (13-4) was a finalist in Season 6 of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality TV show.
In the co-main event, TFC light-heavyweight title-holder Victor (The Matrix) Valimaki of Edmonton faces Martin Desilets (9-2) of Victoriaville, Que. Valimaki (16-5) has won his last seven.
Hague exited the UFC with a 1-2 record. He opened with an upset submission win over accomplished kickboxer Pat Barry at UFC 98 before being knocked out in a UFC-record seven seconds by Todd Duffee at UFC 102.
Hague (10-3) has no hard feelings about his release following the Tuchscherer bout.
"I was prepared for it. Seems like the way it goes you lose two in a row and you have to go rebuild," he said. "So I'm not complaining about that. I'll come back.
"I get to fight in front of my home-town fans here in Edmonton and hopefully rebuild a winning streak and get right back to the UFC because that's where I want to be."
Hague, 26, also has no ill feelings towards his opponents. He plans to train in Las Vegas with Duffee - whom he counts as a friend - and in Minnesota with UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, whose camp includes Tuchscherer.
"I hope I can train hard there and impress them. I'd love that to become my home base for training camps," he said of the Lesnar camp.
Hague was due to face Tyler East on The Fight Club card but illness opened the door to Carpenter, a former wrestler at Eastern Illinois University.
The 23-year-old Carpenter is 2-0 with one no contest. According to Illinois' www.pioneerlocal.com, the no contest came in a bout on the Pacific island of Saipan. Carpenter said he dominated the bout, only to find later that his opponent had been declared the winner. The promoter later overturned the decision and ruled it a no-contest, according to the report.