Former two-division champ BJ Penn (16-10-2) makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, when he faces rising featherweight talent Yair Rodriguez (9-1) in the UFC Fight Night 103 main event in Phoenix, Ariz. The event will be held at Talking Stick Restort Arena and will broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.
Rodriguez has earned Performance of the Night bonuses in three of his last four fights and is currently riding a seven-fight winning streak, including a split decision over Alex Caceres in August. A legend in the sport, Penn returns for the first time since July 2014 when he succumbed to a Frankie Edgar TKO in his 145-pound debut. Now 37-years-old Penn is looking for a career resurgence following a brief retirement and a move to Jackson-Wink MMA for training.
Additional bouts on the card include:
· A welterweight bout between veterans Court McGee (19-5; fighting out of Orem, Utah) and Ben Saunders (19-7-2; fighting out of Orlando, Florida)
· A battle between ascending lightweights Erik Koch (15-4; fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and Tony Martin (10-3; fighting out of Boston, Massachusetts)
· A heavyweight battle between former college basketball player Walt Harris (8-5; fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida) and former college football player Chase Sherman (9-2; fighting out of D’Iberville, Mississippi).
· Polish veteran Damian Grabowski (20-4; fighting out of Opole, Poland) clashes with Viktor Pesta (10-3; fighting out of Prague, Czech Republic) in a heavyweight bout.
· Bojan Mihajlovic (10-4; fighting out of Odzaci, Serbia) will drop down to light heavyweight to face Joachim Christensen (13-4; fighting out of Copenhagen, Denmark).
· Advanced wrestling skills will be on display when Russian heavyweight Dmitrii Smoliakov (8-1; fighting out of Kaliningrad City, Russia) faces Cyril Asker (7-2; fighting out of Avignon, France).
· A lightweight bout between Devin Powell (8-1; fighting out of South Berwick, Maine) and Jordan Rinaldi (12-5; fighting out of Charlotte, North Carolina)
Tickets for UFC Fight Night 103 go on sale Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. MT and are priced at $175, $100, $75, $50 and $40 (prices do not include applicable service charges and handling fees). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Talking Stick Resort Arena Box Office.
UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. MT via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Dec. 1 starting at 10 a.m. MT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.
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