Manchester, England (UK) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) organization announced it will bring the world’s most exciting mixed martial arts event straight back to Europe, this time to fight fans in Northern Ireland. Topping off the international lineup of fights will be the middleweight main event clash Rich “Ace” Franklin vs. Denmark’s Martin Kampmann, and the light heavyweight special feature Forrest Griffin vs. Hector Ramirez. UFC 72: VICTORY will take place live from Belfast at the Odyssey Arena Saturday, June 16, 2007.
“We are very excited to bring the UFC to Northern Ireland,” said UFC President Dana White. “We are having our first fight in Manchester this Saturday, and we are ready to come right back and have another blockbuster event in Europe. UFC 72 will be one of many record-setting events — our London office is already working on more fights for 2007, and a regular series of fights for 2008. Our goal is to bring the best fights with the best fighters to all of our UFC fans, whether they are based in Nevada or Northern Ireland.”
Tickets for UFC 72: VICTORY go on sale Saturday, April 21 at 9:00am BST with prices starting at £30.00. Tickets are available through the Odyssey Arena Box Office or by calling 028-9073-9074. Tickets are also available online through www.odysseyarena.com and www.ticketmaster.ie.
This first ever UFC event in Belfast features the main event middleweight bout Franklin vs. Kampmann. Franklin, (23-2-0) fighting out of Cincinnati, Ohio, is an extremely well-rounded fighter possessing great striking and submission skills. He fought most of his career as a light heavyweight before moving to the middleweight division. At UFC 53, he knocked out UFC champion Evan Tanner to capture the middleweight crown. He made his first title defense against Nate Quarry at UFC 56 winning by first round KO and his second defense against Canadian David Loiseau at UFC 58, winning by decision after dominating “The Crow” through all five championship rounds. He faced Anderson Silva in his third UFC title defense, but was KOd by the Brazilian in the first round. At UFC 68, he returned to the Octagon™, and in front of his home state crowd, stopped Canadian Jason MacDonald at the start of the second round. At UFC 72, Franklin faces Denmark’s Martin Kampmann for the fight that could make him the number one contender for the middleweight title.
“This fight is crucial, I am sure my next fight will be a title shot if I secure a victory in Belfast,” said Franklin. “I believe Kampmann and I will be a great match-up for the fans. We both like to stand, so this fight will not be anything less than exciting.”
Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann (12-1-0) came to the UFC in 2006 with a reputation as a fierce standup fighter. In his first bout against kickboxer Crafton Wallace, Kampmann displayed his all-around mixed martial arts game as he quickly took Wallace down and submitted him in the first round with a rear naked choke. In his second fight, Kampmann showed what he could do while standing as he pounded out an impressive three round unanimous decision over Thales Leites last November. The 24-year old native of Aarhus, Denmark then defeated Drew McFedries at UFC, making for three consecutive victories in the Octagon. Now, Kampmann will attempt a fourth win, this time over the former champion and mixed martial arts superstar Rich Franklin.
“I have a lot of respect for Rich Franklin, but I’m going to train hard and I’m going to finish the fight by knockout or submission,” said Kampmann. “This going to be a good fight – it’s going to be a war.”
Also on the card is the special features Forrest Griffin vs. Hector Ramirez. Forrest Griffin (13-4-0), fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., is a well rounded fighter whose freestyle propelled him to become the Light Heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter® Season 1. Never one to back down from a challenge, Griffin has faced serious opposition in the Octagon, taking on Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Elvis Sinosic and most recently, Keith Jardine. Originally, scheduled to fight at UFC 70, Griffin was sidelined to due illness, but is back in full form and ready to rock against Hector “Sick Dog” Ramirez. Griffin wants to reclaim his status as a rising light heavyweight while winning over the Belfast crowd with a spectacular victory at UFC 72.
Ramirez (6-2-1), who hails from the same East Los Angeles neighborhood that produced boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya, is a well-rounded competitor who is known for his explosive right hand. Also known for his wrestling and kickboxing skills, Ramirez possesses the power to knock out his opponent with either a swing or a kick. He made his UFC debut at UFC 65 last November, and is excited to take on Griffin and prove he belongs in the high ranks of the UFC.
The remaining bouts for UFC 72: VICTORY will be announced in the near future. All bouts are subject to change.
For more information about UFC 72, or current UFC fight news, visit www.ufc.com or uk.ufc.com.