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Report: Dustin Hazelett vs. Ben Saunders likely for UFC 96

A matchup between up and coming welterweight prospects Dustin Hazelett and Ben Saunders is close to being finalized for UFC 96 on March 7.

The news comes courtesy of a report on, which is reporting that bout agreements for the fight have yet to be signed.

Hazelett, 12-4, has been rising through the deep ranks of the UFC’s 170 pound division thanks to exciting performances in his last two fights that have earned him a total of $105,000 in the form of three “Fight Night” bonuses.

A member of Team Jorge Gurgel, Hazelett improved his lifetime UFC record to 5-2 with consecutive wins over Josh Burkman during the live finale for the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter and Tamdan McCrory at UFC 91. Both victories earned Hazelett “Submission of the Night” honors.

Saunders is a veteran from the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter and has yet to be beaten in nine professional fights. He improved his record to 7-0-2 during UFC’s “Fight for the Troops” event last month after recording a first round TKO over Brandon Wolff.

A member of American Top Team, Saunders put on what might have been his most impressive performance to date by catching Wolff in a Thai clinch and delivering repeated knees to his face and body that forced the referee to call a stop to the bout just one minute and 49 seconds into the contest. The win improved Saunders career record in the Octagon to 3-0.

UFC 96 will take place in Columbus, Ohio and emanate from the Nationwide Arena. Other bouts currently expected for the event include Jim Miller vs. Gray Maynard, Shane Carwin vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, and Kendall Grove vs. Jason Day.

  • KTru says:

    All I need is a Main Event and I will be in C-Bus!

  • JOe K. says:

    So far no real superstar events but again real intriguing match ups (just like UFC 95). I am almost more excited for this kind of event than a GSP/Penn style event (well maybe not GSP/Penn).

    I think they are trying to farm some stars for some “dream” cards later on in the year.

  • JOEgun says:

    Hazlett vs Saunders should actually be purdy good matchup. Those were some pretty brutal knees Saunders put to Wolf. Although his muay thai not as pretty as the Spider, if he can bring that same type of agressiveness I see him gettin the W.

  • Rich S. says:

    I don’t want to see this fight..
    Simply because i love both of these guys so much, and i really don’t want to see either of them lose right now..

    I’d probably take Hazelett, but Saunders standup is sick, even aside from the knees..
    His JJ is good too, just not enough to sub McLovin’

  • ctownhood says:

    I’m with you Rich S., I don’t want to see either of these guys lose…but it has to happen I guess. Standing, I’d say advantage Saunders. McLovin has one of the sickest ground games going, and should win if it goes to the ground.

  • Evadmils says:

    +1 on Rich S.

    Also agree w/ KTru, if that main event shapes up nice i’ll be takin that 9 hour ride to Columbus. I was there for Couture/Sylvia and it was loud as hell, great night in lame city on shitty cold March night. They do have a great Steak house there tho…can’t think of the name but all the steaks are named after coaches. If anyone goes check that place out. A lil’ pricey but worth it.

  • Jordan says:

    man this is a tough one to pick…….i think saunders will tko hazelett….its gonna be a good match up but i see saunders catchin him in the 3rd

  • Milliniar says:

    i like both fighters. Hazelett is always entertaining, odd to see a guy as good as him as a gate keeper…..but that shows how good most of UFC’s WW divison is. If he could drop down to lightweight i think he could see himself in title shot territory.

  • Greg says:

    Carwin vs NAPAO gonna steal the show !!!!!!!!!!!

  • StayDown says:

    Columbus is not a bad city at all. You are crazy if you think so..and Dustin wins this rather easily in round 2.


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