UFC 101 will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 8th and there will be no brotherly love loss in the main event as B.J. Penn defends his UFC Lightweight Title against Kenny Florian.
In the co-main event UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva takes a hiatus from the 185-pound division as he moves up once again to light heavyweight to take on the original Ultimate Fighter Forrest Griffin.
Dana White recently spoke about the main event match-up between Penn and Florian, “BJ Penn is called the Prodigy for a reason. He has proven to be dangerous in multiple weight classes but he is definitely at his best at 155. Now the lightweight champ defends his title against top contender Kenny Florian, who has improved by leaps and bounds since his UFC debut on the Ultimate Fighter. Originally known for his outstanding jiu-jitsu skills, Florian is now as well known for his devastating Muay Thai. Both of these guys excel standing and on the ground so I am expecting non-stop action in this world title fight.”
The UFC has held events in various countries and all over the U.S. but this will be their first ever event anywhere in Pennsylvania. Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko spoke about UFC 101 being the UFC”s first ever pay-per-view in the “City of Brotherly Love,” “We are excited to finally be able to host a UFC event in Philadelphia. With a world-wide audience watching on pay-per-view, the Wachovia Center will once again be in the national spotlight. This is a terrific opportunity for the facility, our company and most importantly UFC fans in the Greater Philadelphia Region.”
Lightweight champ B.J. Penn’s last bout was in the 170-pound division as he attempted to move up and snatch the title from UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 in January. That did not work out well for “The Prodigy” however, Penn has not lost a fight at 155-pounds since 2002 when he lost a decision to Jens Pulver at UFC 35.
32-year-old Kenny Florian fought for the UFC Lightweight Title once before, back in 2006, when he lost a five round unanimous decision to Sean Sherk. Since then Kenny has had six fights and six victories with only one decision against Roger Huerta (remember him?). If anyone has re-earned their shot at the title it is Kenny Florian.
Anderson Silva is coming off a criticized middleweight title defense against Thales Leites at UFC 97. Silva, having set the record for most consecutive UFC victories with nine, has beaten everyone the UFC has put in front of him. Silva supporters claimed it was Leites who dropped to his back every time the champ came within striking distance at UFC 97 and if it was a sub-par performance then Leites was to blame for disengaging.
One thing no one will see at UFC 101 is Forrest Griffin dropping to his back or trying to pull guard. The 30-year-old Griffin is looking to get back in top contender status after losing the light heavyweight title to Rashad Evans last December. A win over Anderson Silva could put him immediately back in line for a shot at the belt.
The clash of styles between Silva and Griffin is intriguing. Silva is the accurate technician and Griffin is the rabid dog. Dana White commented on the match-up, “Anderson Silva is the pound for pound best fighter in the world. He’s so good that he demands a serious challenge, someone who can push the pace and make him fight. To me, nobody fits the bill more than former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. Anderson is tremendously skilled but he’s going up a weight class and Forrest is a huge light heavyweight – this is going to be a war.”
Tickets for UFC 101 will go on sale Saturday, May 23 at 10am ET and will be priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50. Tickets are available via www.ComcastTIX.com, UFC.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, the Wachovia Center Box Office, or select ACME markets.
UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Thursday, May 21 starting at 10 a.m. ET via UFC.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers and the Wachovia Center Cyber Club on Friday, May 22 starting at 10 a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com or the Wachovia Center Cyber Club at WachoviaCenter.com.
By: Jack Bratcher