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A fan's take on Bucks, Marquette, Admirals, and Concerts at the BMO Harris Bradley Center
The UFC has announced the headline fights for its August UFC 164 event at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. More than 15 fighters will enter the octagon on August 31st at the downtown Milwaukee Arena, with Benson Henderson defending his lightweight title against TJ Grant for the premier event. A loss for either means the end of their ongoing independent win-streaks, which stands at 12 combined consecutive victories since late-2011. Grant comes into the fight as the underdog on paper, though he proved skeptics wrong once before in May when he landed a hard knockout on the favored Gray Maynard in the first round.
Erik Koch will represent the home-town crowd. The Iowa native currently fights out of Milwaukee, and has compiled an impressive 13-and-2 record at just twenty-four years old. He takes on Florida-based fighter Dustin Poirier in the featherweight division, who has gone 13-and-3 so far in his career. Both will be hungry for a victory after coming-off of losses in their most recent bouts earlier this year.
Clay Guida and Chad Mendes will also fight in the featherweight division in August. It will be Guida’s second bout in the class since winning his debut performance against Hatsu Hioki in January.
Perhaps the most anticipated fight of the night will be the matching of former heavyweight champions Frank Mir and Josh Barnett. At 34 and 35, respectively, the pair is some of the most experienced and oldest fighters in the league, and neither has lost a step as time has worn on. Barnett has lost just a single bout since beating Hidehiko Yoshida in 2008, improving to 36 wins and 6 losses in a career that has lasted over a decade. Mir is hoping to bounce back from back-to-back losses at-the-hands of Junior Dos Santos and Daniel Cormier in his most recent bouts. His record stands at 16-and-7 since his entry into the league in 2001.
UFC 164 at the Bradley Center is part of Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle company is the main sponsor of the event, and will be on hand with tons of interactive fan attractions and prizes. The company partnered with the UFC to put on the Milwaukee bouts, earning inclusion as part of the league’s acclaimed Hometown Throwdown Series, which honors American businesses that have kept headquarters in their original cities.
UFC 164 Harley-Davidson Hometown Throwdown Bouts
- Benson Henderson vs. TJ Grant – Main Event
- Frank Mir vs. Josh Barnett
- Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida
- Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
- Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera
- Chico Camus vs. Kyung Ho Kang
- Soa Palelei vs. Nikita Krylov
- Louis Gaudinot vs. Tim Elliot
Despite a disappointing loss to Texas in their opening-series of the 2013 playoffs in May, and the suffering of just the second less-than-80-win season in franchise history, the Milwaukee Admirals are beginning the off-season with optimism.
The club’s tradition of developing future Stanley Cup contenders continued, with 17 former players and coaches entering the NHL postseason this year. The trophy already enshrines 12 Admiral names, and 2013′s potential class includes prospects such as Rich Peverley, Dan Hamhuis, and Cody Franson. In addition, two signings in the past three weeks have helped keep stable the farm-team’s often turbulent roster, led by second-year head coach Dean Evanson.
Forward Mike Liambas was the first, agreeing to a standard player contract on May 13th. His first AHL contract, the Canadian native first played in the United States in the ECHL. At 5’9”, Liambas overcomes his stature with a reckless playing style that has turned him into a fan favorite at the Bradley Center. The 24 year-old keeps that behavior in-check, however, after he delivered a hit to an opponent in a Canadian junior league that resulted in brain damage.
Liambas played 27 games for the Admirals during 2013, after joining the team in February. A goal on the seventeenth of that month was his only for the season; though an assist in the playoffs showed promise enough to keep him on the roster.
Four-year team veteran Mark Van Guilder renewed his contract through 2015 on May 20th. The deal is a two-way contract with the Admirals professional affiliate in the NHL, the Nashville Predators, who are likely to utilize him in 2014 after a dismal season this year. Along with 14 goals and 18 assists during this past season, Van Guilder was also named Admirals Man of the Year in recognition of his service to the Milwaukee community. Often commended for his presence in the city, the wing was honored nationally as a finalist for the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award.
The top-three designs in the American Institute of Architects recent Emerging Architects contest will be on display at Milwaukee City Hall this weekend. The appearance downtown is fitting, as this year’s competition theme was based on a local public-zoning issue that has recently become hot-headline news in the city. Dubbed Kilbourn Town Entertainment Complex, contestants were tasked with designing projects alternative to the complete disuse of the BMO Harris Bradley Center and its surrounding structures, should a new venue be built to replace it.
Home to a number of professional, semi-professional, and division one basketball and hockey teams, as well as multiple events per year, the Bradley Center has been in use for nearly thirty years. It is one of the oldest NBA stadiums still hosting games, and was on a finical down-slope until 2009. $5 million in state-money helped to ease the building’s troubles that year, and a hefty donation from private businesses and the purchasing of naming rights by BMO Harris Bank in 2012 stabilized the funds. The influx forged a new contract between the venue and the Milwaukee Bucks, who agreed to their first multi-year lease since 2007.
The reignited relationship with the Bucks, and a $23 million renovation, keeps the Bradley Center safe until 2017. The Bucks lease will end then, and talks of constructing a replacement downtown sports complex by that time have already taken on a tone of certainty. And, while most minds involved are busy planning for the future of that non-existent structure, University of Milwaukee architecture student Jacob Jordan is worried about the future of what will be left behind.
Jordan took third-place at the 2013 Milwaukee Chapter Emerging Architects contest. His priorities focused on the need to add more attractions for residents, businesses, and tourists near the existing Bradley Center site.
Christopher Ludwig and Ryan O’Connor, first and second place winners, chose to limit their renovations to the west and north of the building. Attempting to take advantage of existing open lots and an aging parking structure that serves the Bradley Center and Milwaukee Area Technical College, the pair proposes constructing two new towers to house hotels, restaurants, entertainment, retail space, and parking.
Jordan, meanwhile, envisions a modern sports-haven fully surrounding the Bradley Center. From sporting-goods stores to major sport-company offices, Jordan hopes to make the area a Mecca for athleticism. Restaurants, parking, and hotels are allotted space as well, though a rooftop soccer field is the highlight of the design.
The BMO Bradley Center and the Milwaukee Admirals will host a pair of exciting concerts in the next few weeks. Phillip Phillips and Pat McCurdy will make their way to the downtown Milwaukee venue to play on March twenty-second and April fifth, respectively. The shows will be the finale of the Admirals year-long post-game concert series, which has become a highly popular promotion for the team.
A pair of highly anticipated events will be taking place among the BMO Harris Bradley Center’s usual basketball and hockey lineup this month.
Make sure to bring those ear plugs, though. Monster trucks are designed to produce nearly 2,000 horsepower in mere seconds, allowing for speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The specially created dirt track features jumps, obstacles, and pits for the drivers to maneuver, with the largest jumps putting the five ton trucks up to 130 feet in the air.
Following the Monster Jam weekend, country music legendBrantley Gilbert will perform a post-game concert following the January twenty-fifth Milwaukee Admirals game. The concert is free for regular game ticket holders, and is part of the Admirals annual partnership with Coors Light and FM106 to host Country Music Night.
Gilbert is coming off of a pair successful debut albums over the past three years, including the certified gold Halfway to Heaven. Just twenty-seven years old, the Georgia native has toured with the likes of Toby Kieth, Uncle Kracker, and Greg Bates. He was nominated for a New Artist of the Year Award at the 2012 Country Music Awards, and was most recently invited to perform at London’s Country to Country Festival.