Home to two of the first five UFC events, Charlotte, North Carolina will once again host the premier organization in mixed martial arts on Wednesday, March 31st, as the UFC returns to Charlotte for the first time in nearly 15 years at the Bojangles Coliseum featuring the lightweight showdown between two-time title challenger Kenny Florian and Japanese superstar and former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi. This bout will headline UFC Fight Night 21, which airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Gomi will feature a card loaded with high-powered match-ups such as Roy Nelson vs. Stefan Struve, Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera, Ross Pearson vs. Dennis Siver, Andre Winner vs. Rafaello Oliveira, Jacob Volkmann vs. Ronys Torres, Robert Emerson vs. Nik Lentz, Caol Uno vs. Gleison Tibau, Yushin Okami vs. Lucio Linhares, Gerald Harris vs. Mario Miranda, Charlie Brenneman vs. Jason High.
Winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, Roy Nelson will be making his first post-TUF appearance in the UFC. After winning the finale with a convincing knockout of fellow heavyweight Brendan Schaub, Nelson looks to stay on the winning end of things as he squares off with the tallest fighter in the UFC, Stefan Struve. The 6-foot-11 Struve is only 22 years-old and is already turning heads in the heavyweight division. Currently riding a three-fight winning streak, the well-rounded mixed martial artist has tallied wins over Denis Stojnic, Chase Gormley, and Paul Buentello. He hopes to make it four straight when he takes on “Big Country.”
A nine-fight veteran of the UFC, Nate Quarry has taken on some of the best the middleweight division has to offer. A contestant on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, Quarry has won his last two fights over Jason MacDonald and Tim Credeur, but will have his work cut out for him as he takes another UFC veteran, Jorge Rivera. Riding a two-fight winning streak of his own over Nissen Osterneck and Rob Kimmons, Rivera is looking to continue his dominance when he faces off with Quarry on March 31st.
Winner of the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Ross Pearson is looking for a win to make it three straight in his UFC career. After defeating Andre Winner in the TUF finale, Pearson put together an impressive TKO of Aaron Riley at UFC 105. A difficult challenge awaits Pearson in his next fight when he takes on veteran fighter Dennis Siver. The lightweight fighter has won his last four fights, all by stoppage and he hopes to make Pearson his next victim inside the Octagon.
A finalist during the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Andre Winner hopes to build off of his first round knockout victory over Rolando Delgado at UFC 105. Standing in his way will be Janja, Brazil native Rafaello Oliveria. A winner of a unanimous decision over John Gunderson in his last fight, Oliveira has plans to make it two straight in the lightweight division with a victory over Winner.
Three-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Jacob Volkmann is looking for his first win inside the Octagon and he hopes his great wrestling ability will help to get his hand raised at the end of his 155-pound debut. His opponent, Ronys Torres, has other plans. The 24 year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt hopes his showing at UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi will warrant him his first UFC victory and begin his climb in the lightweight division.
An alumnus of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5, Rob Emerson has won three of his last five fights since competing on the reality show. Coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Phillipe Nover at UFC 109, Emerson draws a tough competitor for his next fight, Nik Lentz. The lightweight fighter defeated Rafaello Oliveria in his UFC debut and fought to a majority draw in his last fight with Thiago Tavares. Lentz will have a chance to build off those performances when he takes on UFC veteran Emerson.
A nine-fight veteran of the UFC, Caol Uno has fought some of the best lightweights in the world. Coming off of a majority draw against Fabricio Camoes at UFC 106, Uno has another tough test ahead of him as he takes on fellow UFC veteran, Gleison Tibau . A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tibau has been victorious in three of his last four fights and hopes to add another win to his resume in this lightweight showdown.
A well-known middleweight with a stellar resume, Yushin Okami returns to the Octagon having won three of his last four bouts. Okami will bring his tenacious ground and pound with him when he meets up with fellow middleweight Lucio Linhares. Known for his skills in the ground game, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is looking to derail Okami and collect his first victory in the UFC.
A three-time NCAA Div. 1 qualifier in wrestling, Gerald Harris is the owner of a powerful wrestling game. He showed well-rounded ability when he defeated John Salter via TKO in his UFC debut on January 11. Looking to build off this win, Harris draws UFC newcomer Mario Miranda. The 6-foot-3 middleweight with a strong wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu background looks to hold on to his perfect record as he enters the UFC.
A native of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Charlie Brenneman is a former Division I wrestler making his UFC debut. He will be taking on fellow newcomer Jason High. The 5-foot-9 Kansas City, Missouri native is a veteran of international competition hoping to spoil the debut of Brenneman with a win of his own.