In what may come as somewhat of a shock to UFC fans a welterweight clash between Pete Sell and Matt Brown has made it the main card of UFC 96, according to UFC.com. The Sell vs. Brown fight was chosen over bouts featuring UFC veterans Kendall Grove and Brandon Vera.
Vera who recently signed a new contract with the UFC will be making his third fight as a light heavyweight when he takes on Mike Patt. Patt is coming off a loss to Tim Boetsch in his UFC debut back in September at UFC 88. Vera has not looked like the fighter who burst onto the UFC scene in 2005 that won his first four fights with the organization.
Grove will be taking on Canadian Jason Day in a middleweight matchup. Grove has not fought since winning a split decision over the late Evan Tanner at the live finale for The Ultimate Fighter 7 back in June of 2008. Meanwhile, Day had a successful debut with the UFC by defeating Alan Belcher but subsequently lost to Michael Bisping at UFC 85 in June of last year.
UFC 96 will take place in Columbus Ohio on March 7 and will showcase a main event between former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Greg Jackson-trained competitor Keith Jardine.
Jackson is coming off what very may be his most satisfying victory when he knocked out former Pride nemesis Wanderlai Silva in the first round at UFC 92 in December. Jardine will look to end a streak that has seen him lose one win one over the course of his last four fights. He was last seen in October of last year at UFC 89 where he defeated Vera via split decision.
Also on the main card will be Ohio native Matt Hamill as he looks to rebound from his loss to Rich Franklin when he takes on former WEC fighter and fellow collegiate wrestler Mark Munoz.
The UFC has held three prior events in Ohio with the first being UFC 68 in March of 2007 which of course saw the triumphant return of Randy Couture from retirement as he defeated then-heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia by unanimous decision. That event set a then North American MMA attendance record with 19,079 fans. The live gate for the event was $3,014,000.
The second trip to Ohio had a main event featuring a rematch between UFC middleweight champion and the man he defeated for the title ranklin at UFC 77 in October of 2007. The UFC made its esy back to Ohio for UFC 82 in March of 2008, where UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva recorded a second round submission against former PRIDE welterweight (183 lbs.) champion Dan Henderson.