After April’s memorable UFC Fight Night™ in Nashville, The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) is headed back to the great state of Tennessee to give the fans another night of world class mixed martial arts action as UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn faces possibly his toughest test at 155 pounds in the relentless Diego Sanchez at UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez, live from FedExForum in Memphis on Saturday, December 12th.
“In this sport it sometimes takes years for fighters to find the weight class where they’re at their best,” UFC President Dana White said. “I don’t think there’s any question that BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez have finally found their homes at 155 pounds, making the UFC 107 main event a fight between the best Penn and Sanchez we’ve ever seen. BJ hasn’t lost in this weight class in years, and Diego has looked unstoppable in his lightweight fights, and when these two meet in the center of the Octagon, it’s going to make our first trip to Memphis one fight fans will never forget.”
“Thanks to the vision of our owner, Michael Heisley and the diligence and hard work of our staff, the help of state legislators and the UFC, we have cleared a path for UFC to make its way to the state of Tennessee and the city of Memphis,” said Steve Zito, Senior Vice President, Arena Operations and Entertainment for FedExForum. “By helping to bring UFC to the state of Tennessee we will have the opportunity to continue to showcase the city of Memphis and FedExForum as a world-class arena.”
Tickets for UFC 107: PENN vs. SANCHEZ, priced at $350, $250, $150 $100, $75 and $50, go on sale Saturday, October 24 at 10 a.m. CT and are available online at ticketmaster.com or UFC.com, at all Ticketmaster locations, the FedExForum Box Office or by phone at (800)745-3000. Tickets are subject to additional fees and service charges.
UFC® Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Thursday, October 22 at 10 a.m. CT via the website UFCFIGHTCLUB.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Friday, October 23 starting at 10 a.m. CT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.
UFC 107 will be available live on pay-per-view on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, BellTV, Shaw Communications and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).
Unbeaten at 155 pounds for nearly eight years with nine finishes in his 10 lightweight victories, BJ Penn (fighting out of Hilo, Hawaii) has ruled the 155-pound division with an iron fist, finishing top contenders Joe Stevenson, Sean Sherk, and Kenny Florian along the way. The refocused 30-year-old lightweight champion and former welterweight champion came into his title defense against Florian at August’s UFC 101 in the best shape of his brilliant career, and Penn (14-5-1) combined a flawless game plan and world-class conditioning to submit his fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a rear naked choke in the fourth round of his third fight in 2009. Now the champion’s conditioning will be put to the ultimate test when he faces the new No. 1 contender.
“I can’t wait to defend the title,” Penn said. “I know what kind of competitor Diego Sanchez is and I am training very hard. This will be a good test.”
“The Prodigy” will face a challenger as willing as he is to leave it all on the line in The Ultimate Fighter™ Season One winner Diego Sanchez (fighting out of San Diego, Calif.), who has reinvented himself as a unstoppable cardio machine that won’t quit moving forward until he wears the UFC championship belt around his waist. The 27-year-old Albuquerque, N.M. native with the 23-2 professional record is on a four-fight win streak and is 2-0 since dropping down to lightweight with exciting wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida. This will mark Sanchez’s first title fight, and if the former welterweight, who won his first 19 professional fights, tops Penn, he will join Matt Serra, Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans as the fourth The Ultimate Fighter™ show winner to earn a UFC title.
“I’ve always wanted to face the best,” Sanchez said. “I’ve worked so hard for this and now I finally have a shot at the title. I’m training like I’ve never trained before and I expect an all-out war.”
Plus, in the UFC 107 co-main event, two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) returns to the Octagon to begin his quest for a third title, and to move back up the ladder in one of the sport’s toughest divisions. With finishing wins in three of his last four fights against names such as Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and Antoni Hardonk, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace with the 12-4 record will need all of his elite level experience to thwart the devastating attack of his next opponent.
“Cheick Kongo is one of the best strikers in the UFC,” Mir said. “I’m coming off a loss and I definitely want to get back on the road to the title. I think this will be a difficult challenge.”
Another heavyweight with finishing wins in three of his last four fights, 6-foot-4, 240-pound Cheick Kongo (fighting out of Paris, France) combines power and superior striking skills every time he steps into the Octagon™. The imposing 34-year-old, who has seven UFC wins, holds a 24-5-1 record and knows that a win over a superstar like Mir will move him ever closer to his first title opportunity.
“In the UFC, you can’t take any opponents lightly,” Kongo said. “But when you face a former champion such as Frank Mir, you’re expecting one of the toughest fights of your career. It’s going to be a classic.”
Also added to the stacked UFC 107 main card is a welterweight showdown between fellow Brazilians Thiago “Pitbull” Alves and Paulo Thiago, two of the division’s top competitors.
One of the most feared strikers in the sport today, Fortaleza-born Thiago Alves (22-5) is a Muay Thai wrecking machine whose fists and feet have sent the likes of Tony DeSouza, Chris Lytle, Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes, and Josh Koscheck to defeat. Now fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida, the 26 year old banger will look to rebound from his courageous five round loss against champion Georges St-Pierre in July by stopping the rise of Paulo Thiago and getting back on the road to another title shot.
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with multiple titles to his name, Brasilia’s Paulo Thiago surprisingly made his name in the UFC with a spectacular one punch knockout of Josh Koscheck at UFC 95 in February, showing the world that he is as dangerous standing as he is on the mat. On December 12th, the 11-1 fighter and member of Brazil’s special operations police force – who is coming off a hard-fought battle with Jon Fitch – will look to lay down the law to Thiago Alves.