After an unprecedented number of injuries hampered the UFC’s recent events, March 27th sees the promotion back on form as they return to New Jersey with a stacked card for UFC 111, including two title fights.
Headlining the event is the current welterweight champion, and one of the UFC’s biggest stars, Georges St.Pierre. After successful title defenses against BJ Penn and Thiago Alves in 2009 GSP now faces the fast rising UK star Dan Hardy who is on a four fight win streak in the UFC.
The main event will have added spice thanks to a new three part ‘UFC Primetime’ show which will go behind the scenes of both fighters training camps ahead of the fight.
Truth be told the co-main event of UFC 111, featuring an interim heavyweight title fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin is worthy of headlining an event itself, ensuring that this is a must-see card. Mir looked impressive in his first round victory over Cheick Kongo at UFC 107, while Carwin is on a three fight unbeaten run in the UFC, and has yet to beaten in his 11 fight career.
With current champion Brock Lesnar recently announcing that he will return to the sport after an extended layoff through illness, the winner of the interim belt will now face him in the summer to unify the titles.
Elsewhere on the main card after Martin Kampmann, pulled out injured due to a deep cut, Jake Ellenberger. who is currently 1-1 in the promotion, has stepped in to take on Ben Saunders.
Saunders also suffered a setback last year when he lost to Mike Swick at UFC 99, but he made a lasting impression in his next fight by knocking out the veteran Marcus Davis, putting his career right back on track.
A long awaited rematch between two of the welterweight divisions top contenders, Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch is also scheduled for UFC 111. Alves lost the original encounter, but then went on a seven fight win-streak. That earned him a title shot at GSP last year but he came up short and is now looking to get back in the win column.
Fitch has shown good form too, winning all but one of his last nine fights, though few have been as impressively as his first victory over Alves.
After a relatively easy submission victory over Duane Ludwig at UFC 108 in January, Jim Miller makes a quick return to action at UFC 111 against Mark Bocek who makes the step up to the main card after impressing recently in a three fight unbeaten run in the prelims.
The event is also expected to contain one more as yet unannounced main card fight.
Meanwhile there are some notable bouts in the preliminary card as well. For instance Nate Diaz recently stated his interest in moving up to fight at 170lbs after a closely fought decision loss to Gray Maynard. His wish has been granted and he will now face Rory Markham who hasn’t fought since being knocked out by Dan Hardy in February of last year.
Update (25/03/10): Days before the event is scheduled to take place Thiago Alves was found to have irregularities after having a CAT scan and therefore will not fight. Instead Ben Saunders will now fight Jon Fitch, leaving Jake Ellinberger without an opponent. Finally the Kurt Pellegrino Vs Fabricio Cameos fight moves up to the main card to finalize the card.
See the full (revised) card below:
- Georges St.Pierre Vs Dan Hardy
- Frank Mir Vs Shane Carwin
- Jon Fitch Vs Ben Saunders
- Jim Miller Vs Mark Bocek
- Kurt Pellegrino Vs Fabricio Cameos
- Ricardo Almeida Vs Matt Brown
- Nate Diaz Vs Rory Markham
- Rodney Wallace Vs Jared Hamman
- Rousimer Palhares Vs Tomasz Drawl
- Matthew Riddle Vs Greg Soto