Two of the most dynamic Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweights clash on Sunday, March 21, when Muay Thai ace Brandon “The Truth” Vera takes on dangerous 22-year-old phenom Jon “Bones” at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo for UFC® on VERSUS. The fight will air live on VERSUS at 9 p.m. ET marking the debut of the world’s largest mixed martial arts organization on VERSUS and the first time that a live UFC event will air on a national sports cable network.
UFC on VERSUS will feature a card loaded with explosive match-ups such as Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello, Duane Ludwig vs. Spencer Fisher, Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin, Clay Guida, vs. Shannon Gugerty, Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko, John Howard vs. Daniel Roberts, Brendan Schaub vs. Chase Gormley, Mike Pierce vs. Rob Kimmons and Eric Schafer vs. Jason Brilz.
Since coming onto the scene in the UFC, Brazilian heavyweight Junior Dos Santos (fighting out of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil / 10-1 professional record) has torn through every opponent in his path. Riding a four fight winning streak in the Octagon™, all by way of stoppage (3 KO/TKO, 1 Submission) against the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop and Gilbert Yvel, Dos Santos looks to continue his dominance against fellow Brazilian Gabriel Gonzaga. A veteran of the UFC, Gonzaga (fighting out of Ludlow, Mass. / 11-4) has won three of his last four fights, his most recent victory being a first-round knockout of Chris Tuchscherer. Always dangerous on his feet, Gonzaga looks to assert himself as one of the top heavyweights in the division with a win over Dos Santos on March 21st.
Known for his devastating striking ability, UFC veteran Cheick Kongo (fighting out of Paris, France / 24-6-1) is looking to demonstrate these skills against another powerful puncher. The 34-year-old Frenchman has five TKO victories in the UFC and looks to hunt down “The Headhunter.” Paul Buentello (fighting out of San Jose, Calif. / 25-11) made his first appearance in the UFC since 2006 when he took on Stefan Struve at UFC 107. A mixed martial arts veteran with 25 career wins, Buentello looks to once again prove his standup skills against another top striker.
There are few middleweights with as much experience inside the Octagon as Alessio Sakara (fighting out of Miami, Fla. / 18-7, 1 NC). A nine-fight Octagon veteran, the Rome, Italy native looks to build off of his two-fight winning streak as he squares off against another proven striker. James Irvin (fighting out of Sacramento, Calif. / 14-5, 1 NC) returns to the UFC as a winner of two of his past three fights. Known for his impressive athletic ability and punching power, Irvin is eager to make his 185-pound debut at UFC on VERSUS.
Known for his outgoing personality and frenetic pace in his fights, Clay Guida (fighting out of Johnsburg, Ill. / 25-8) is one of the most exciting fighters the lightweight division has to offer. Winner of three of his last five fights, Guida is looking to continue his exciting brand of fighting as he faces off against tough competitor Shannon Gugerty (fighting out of San Diego, Calif. / 12-4). A west coast standout, Gugerty is the owner of two Octagon wins against Dale Hartt and Matt Grice, and he will be trying to collect his third victory in a lightweight showdown with Guida.
Making his mark as a contestant on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter®, Eliot Marshall (fighting out of Boulder, Colo. / 8-2) has taken full advantage of his opportunities as he has gone a perfect 3-0 in his post-TUF fights. Marshall, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, faces his toughest match-up yet as he will face off against experienced veteran Vladimir Matyushenko (fighting out of El Segundo, Calif. / 23-4). Winner of three of his last four bouts, with his most recent win coming at UFC 103 against Igor Pokrajac, the Belarusian hopes to use his experience to put together back-to-back victories as he takes on Marshall on March 21st.
In a career that spans back to UFC 42, Duane Ludwig (fighting out of Denver, Colo. / 27-10) is 2-1 in the UFC with a notable 11-second destruction of Jonathan Goulet in 2006. Ludwig will have his work cut out for him as he takes on UFC newcomer Darren Elkins (fighting out of Portage, Ind. / 10-1). A native of Portage, Ind. Elkins is looking to make his first fight in the UFC memorable with a win over Ludwig.
Storming onto the scene with three straight wins, 26 year-old John Howard (fighting out of Boston, Mass. / 13-4) hopes to continue his rise up the ranks of the welterweight division with a win at UFC on VERSUS. Howard’s opponent is UFC newcomer Daniel Roberts (fighting out of San Francisco, Calif. / 9-0.), who brings his perfect record to the UFC as he looks to make an immediate impact in the welterweight division. Born in Rockford, Ill., Roberts is well versed in wrestling and jiu-jitsu and hopes these skills will help propel him to his first win inside the Octagon.
A finalist on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, former NFL player Brendan Schaub (fighting out of Denver, Colo. / 5-1) looks to begin his post-TUF path to stardom as he squares off with Chase Gormley at UFC on VERSUS. Gormley (fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif. / 6-1) is also looking for his first career UFC win, and the former college wrestling All-American hopes it will come at the expense of Schaub on Sunday, March 21st.
Since joining the UFC following a successful stint in World Extreme Cagefighting®, Mike Pierce (fighting out of Vancouver, Wash. / 9-3) has continued to face top-notch competition. Winner of two of his last three fights overall, Pierce has defeated Brock Larson and engaged in a hard-fought three round battle with former No. 1 contender Jon Fitch. Pierce has another tough fight ahead of him as he faces Julio Paulino (fighting out of Anchorage, Alaska / 18-2.) A native of Jersey City, NJ, the “Dominican Demon” looks to establish himself in the welterweight division with a win in his UFC debut.
Winner of two of his last three fights, submission specialist Eric Schafer (fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc. / 13-4-2) will be making his seventh UFC appearance, this time against Jason Brilz (fighting out of Omaha, Neb. / 17-2-1), a native of Bismarck, North Dakota, who owns UFC victories over Brad Morris and Tim Boetsch. Both fighters are looking for their third career UFC win and will do whatever it takes to garner it.