Event Name: UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine
Date: March 7, 2009
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Venue: Nationwide Arena
Broadcast: Pay-Per-View - 10pm ET
UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine will clash at UFC 96 on March 7th in Columbus, Ohio. Also the UFC will feature a match between the undefeated Shane Carwin and one-time heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga, and a bout pairing Dustin Hazelett and Ben Saunders.
Previous reports suggested Jackson would fight UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in UFC 96's main event. Instead, Jackson will look to build toward a future bout with Evans when he meets the Team Jackson fighter's teammate, Jardine.
Jardine (14-4-1), based out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, N.M., last fought at UFC 89 in October, when he earned a split decision against Brandon Vera. He also holds victories against former UFC light heavyweight champions Griffin and Chuck Liddell. The 33-year-old former bounty hunter staked his claim in the 205-pound division with an unorthodox style and vicious leg and body kicks.
Jackson, meanwhile, will return to action just 10 weeks after his dominant first-round knockout of Wanderlei Silva. It was a remarkable comeback for Jackson, who was arrested after a high-speed police chase a few weeks after losing his light-heavyweight title to Forrest Griffin in July 2008. He's now won seven of his past eight fights.
The winner of the bout will likely be moved into a title match while UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans‘ first challenger is still open to speculation
An up-and-coming heavyweight, Carwin (10-0) is undefeated in his professional career, including impressive back-to-back victories in the UFC. Carwin, a standout wrestler, compiled an 8-0 record before joining the UFC and recording first-round knockouts of Christian Wellisch and Neil Wain in a combined 2-minutes and 15-seconds.
Gonzaga is currently on a two-fight win streak after enduring back-to-back losses to top division players Couture and Fabricio Werdum. He submitted Justin McCully with a first round kimura at UFC 86: “Jackson vs. Griffin” in July and then crushed an overmatched Josh Hendricks at UFC 91 with a first round knockout.
With four straight wins to begin his career inside the Octagon, including a sensational (and at the time unlikely) knockout of Mirko Cro Cop with a headkick, “Napao” appears to be once again relevant in heavyweight title contender picture. The Brazilian will now look to string together three straight wins to secure a place near the top in 2009.
And a win over a highly touted prospect like Shane Carwin would do just that. The same goes for Carwin — defeating a veteran and former number one contender like Gonzaga would serve as springboard to launch him into the next phase of his promising career.
For the third straight year, the UFC will host an event from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. UFC 96 at the Nationwide Arena on Saturday, March 7, 2009.
The UFC started thefirst event with UFC 68, for one historic night as Randy Couture won the heavyweight crown for an unprecedented third time as he beat Tim Sylvia. The event grossed more than $3 million and the 19,000 fans in attendence set a record for the largest North American audience to witness a mixed-martial arts event.
The following year, UFC 82 was held at Nationwide and was attended by more than 15,000 fans to see Anderson Silva unify the UFC Middleweight Championship and the PRIDE Welterweight Championship by defeating Dan Henderson.
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