Press Release courtesy of UFC
As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas – including the fight cards. With the superfight between former middleweight champion Rich Franklin and Vitor Belfort already signed, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to put on a record 13 fights for UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort, which is presented by Tequila Cazadores, live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on September 19.
Mirko Cro Cop (fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia) has fought some of the best heavyweights in the world. The seasoned striker with 25 professional wins is coming off a TKO victory against Mostapha Al Turk in June, but the former Pride Grand Prix champion could be facing one of his toughest challenges in recent memory when he takes on the dangerous Brazilian Junior Dos Santos (fighting out of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil). With two knockout wins in his first two UFC fights, no one has lasted longer than 80 seconds in the UFC against the 25-year-old. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound fighter will need to bring his sharpest standup game yet against the feared Croatian kickboxer.
Coming off the biggest win of his career, welterweight contender Martin Kampmann (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) is fresh from an impressive split decision victory over former World Extreme Cagefighting® welterweight champion Carlos Condit in April. Since dropping down to the 170-pound weight class, the 27-year-old former Danish Thai boxing champion is a perfect 2-0 but will be pitted against the extremely explosive Paul Daley (fighting out of Nottingham, England). An exciting striker that has fought around the globe, Daley owns KO wins over UFC veterans John Alessio and Duane Ludwig and is making his UFC debut.
A former national college wrestling champion, Josh Koscheck (fighting out of Fresno, Calif.) has compiled 10 UFC wins in his career. The Waynesburg, Pennsylvania native has wins over Diego Sanchez, Chris Lytle and Dustin Hazelett, but he has never faced someone like returning UFC veteran Frank Trigg (fighting out of Las Vegas, NV.). One half of two memorable fights with then UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, Trigg has the experience, wrestling background and Octagon savvy to give Koscheck the most difficult test of his career. With two UFC victories already on his resume`, Trigg makes his first trip back into the Octagon™ since 2005.
At only 25 years old, Tyson Griffin (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) has already compiled six wins in the UFC. The powerful lightweight fighter holds victories over Clay Guida, Gleison Tibau and most recently a unanimous decision win against Rafael Dos Anjos in April. But now the Sacramento, California born mixed martial artist turns his attention to another tough Brazilian in Hermes Franca (fighting out of Miami, Fla.). The decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt holds two submission victories in the UFC and is coming off a unanimous decision win against his former jiu-jitsu instructor Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90.
Winner of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter™, Efrain Escudero (fighting out of Tempe, Ariz.) remains undefeated (12-0) as a professional mixed martial artist and holds a win over Phillipe Nover in the show’s finale. Now the former All-American college wrestler and Mexico-born fighter will face the red-hot Cole Miller (fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.). The 25-year-old Augusta, Ga. native is coming off two consecutive submission victories, tapping out Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jorge Gurgel and TUF 8’s Junie Browning in successive bouts. The 6-foot-1 lightweight has four total wins in the UFC, and he’ll be looking for number five on September 19th.
With all four of his UFC wins coming via KO/TKO, Drew McFedries (fighting out of Bettendorf, Iowa) has the power and the talent to put anyone’s lights out. It took the Ames, Iowa born fighter only 37 seconds to take Xavier Foupa-Pokam out in his last fight at UFC 98 and the talented middleweight will need every bit of his standup skill when he mixes it up with the aggressive Tomasz Drwal (fighting out of San Diego, Calif. / Krakow, Poland). The heavy-handed 27-year-old is coming off of two knockout victories, including a devastating TKO win over Mike Ciesnolevicz in June. Drwal, who has a 16-2 record, will look for his third UFC win in 2009.
Jim Miller (fighting out of Whippany, N.J.) has impressed many during his time in the UFC. Winner of three of his four UFC fights, the Sparta, New Jersey native earned a unanimous decision win against the experienced Mac Danzig at UFC 100 in July. Now the lightweight with the 14-2 pro record faces UFC newcomer Steve Lopez (fighting out of South Bend, Ind.). A national qualifier as a college wrestler, the 25-year-old Lopez holds a 12-1 record and makes his UFC debut on September 19.
Two fighters that are making their UFC debuts, Nik Lentz (fighting out of Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Rafaello Oliveira (fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn. / Janja, Brazil) are looking to put on a show in their respective premieres. Lentz, an El Paso, Texas native, wrestled at the University of Minnesota, where he is one semester away from graduating in Pre-Med. Lentz puts his 18-3-1 career mark against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rafaello Oliveira. Riding a three-fight win streak, the 9-1 Oliveira has three wins by submission and three by TKO.
Heading into his second UFC fight, Rick Story (Vancouver, Wash.) is coming off a three-round battle with John Hathaway. The 25-year-old welterweight holds a 7-3 pro record and is looking for his first UFC win when he takes on Sallisaw, Oklahoma’s Brian Foster (fighting out of Granite City, Ill.). With an impressive 14-3 pro record, Foster has eight wins by KO/TKO, four by submission and is making his UFC debut.
Making plenty of noise in the ultra-stacked light heavyweight division is Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Eliot Marshall (fighting out of Boulder, Colo.). With back-to-back wins against Jules Bruchez and Vinny Magalhaes, the Franklinville, N.J. native is a perfect 2-0 in the UFC and 7-2 overall. Marshall looks for his third UFC win when he faces Jason Brilz (fighting out of Omaha, Neb.). The Bismarck, North Dakota fighter also has wins in his two UFC fights, including a unanimous decision victory against Tim Boetsch in March.
Making his return to the Octagon after six years, Vladimir Matyushenko (fighting out of El Segundo, Calif.) is back and has won nine of his last 10 fights. The 22-4 Belarusian holds seven wins by submission and seven by TKO and is looking to shake up the light heavyweight division when he returns to face Igor Pokrajac (fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia). A protégé of Mirko Cro Cop, Pokrajac is on an eight-fight win streak and brings a 21-5 record into his UFC debut.
A veteran of four UFC fights, lightweight Rob Emerson (fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) is remembered for his 12 second TKO victory against the aggressive Manny Gamburyan. Now the 28-year-old from Huntington, California looks for his third UFC win when he takes on Rafael Dos Anjos (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro). The 24-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion last fought Tyson Griffin in a three-round battle that turned many heads. Now Dos Anjos heads into his third UFC match against the experienced Emerson.