Before former UFC champions Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira step into the Octagon for the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first-ever event in Portland, fans at the Rose Garden will be treated to a light heavyweight showdown between hard-hitting contenders Keith Jardine and Thiago Silva, a clash of middleweight standouts Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia, as well as the homecoming bouts of Oregon favorites Chris Leben, Ed Herman, and Evan Dunham to round out a great night of fights at UFC 102: COUTURE vs. NOGUEIRA, presented by Harley-Davidson and live from Portland, Oregon’s Rose Garden on Saturday, August 29, 2009.
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Coming off a three-round classic against former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Keith Jardine (fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) has been in some memorable UFC matches. With wins over former UFC champions Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, Jardine has compiled six victories in the UFC. The Butte, Montana native will need all that experience against the very dangerous Thiago Silva (fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil). With a 13-1 professional mixed martial arts record and winner of four of his first five UFC matches, the 26-year-old light heavyweight has earned stoppages in all of his Octagon wins.
One fighter that is sure to have the crowd in his corner is Portland-born Chris Leben (fighting out of Oahu, Hawaii). A veteran of 12 UFC matches, the heavy-handed middleweight striker has won two of his last three matches and five overall by KO/TKO. The 29-year-old will need to be well versed in all aspects of MMA when he faces three-time NCAA Division I national champion wrestler Jake Rosholt (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.). An Oklahoma State University graduate and four-time All-American, Rosholt carries a 5-1 record in his young mixed martial arts career and the 26-year-old Sand Point, Indiana product looks for his first UFC win when he faces the hometown fighter.
A matchup that is sure to have title shot implications is the fight between Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts Nate Marquardt (fighting out of Denver, Colo.) and Demian Maia (fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil). A veteran of over 40 MMA matches, Marquardt has the credentials, experience and at only 30 years old, the tools to be UFC middleweight champion. But for a fighter that is coming off two straight TKO victories against Martin Kampmann and Wilson Gouveia, Marquardt will have to bring his A-game to make it No. 3 when he touches gloves against Maia. A UFC veteran that has been nothing short of deadly on the ground, Demian Maia has five UFC matches, five wins and five submission victories. A perfect 11-0 record as a mixed martial artist and a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Maia’s time is now and the 31-year-old is making a big name for himself in the UFC.
What is sure to be an explosive fight at light heavyweight, Brandon Vera (fighting out of San Diego, Calif.) takes on Krzysztof Soszynski (fighting out of Temecula, Calif. via Winnipeg, Canada). After moving down to light heavyweight, Vera, a Norfolk, Va. native, has won two of his last three matches including a TKO victory against Michael Patt at UFC 96. The well-versed fighter and Muay Thai practitioner will need to summon all of his grappling skills when he takes on the dangerous Soszynski. A perfect 3-0 in the UFC with two submissions, the 32-year-old Soszynski turned heads with a first-round TKO victory against Andre Gusmao in his last fight.
Like Leben, another fighter sure to have a few cheers for him is Ed Herman (fighting out of Portland, Ore.). Coming off an impressive three-round decision victory against MMA veteran David Loiseau, the Portland-trained fighter has compiled four wins in the UFC and a 17-6 overall record. Herman will look to be the first person to give Aaron Simpson (fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) a professional loss. Simpson, a Gunnison, Colorado product, was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and owns a 5-0 record. The 35-year-old middleweight earned a TKO victory against Tim McKenzie in his April UFC debut.
Remembered for his highlight reel head kick that put Mirko Cro Cop to sleep, Gabriel Gonzaga (fighting out of Ludlow, Mass.) is a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt that has shown improved striking throughout his UFC career. The 30-year-old Brazilian heavyweight has won two of his last three fights and now faces UFC newcomer Chris Tuchscherer (fighting out of Fargo, N.D.). The 33-year-old former two-time NCAA Division II All-American wrestler holds a 17-1 professional MMA record and makes his UFC debut.
Coming off a win in December against Eddie Sanchez, Justin McCully (fighting out of Maui, Hawaii) will be looking for his third UFC win when the heavyweight and Washington, D.C. native takes on Mike Russow (fighting out of Chicago, Ill.). A Chicago police officer with an 11-1 pro mark, Russow, who has eight wins via submission, has plenty of MMA experience, which he will need against the seasoned 6-foot-2, 240-pound McCully.
An imposing figure at heavyweight, Tim Hague (fighting out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) stands at 6-foot-4, 265 lbs. and already has a first-round submission win against Pat Barry on his UFC resume. But the 26-year-old with the 10-1 record will definitely be facing someone his own size when he takes on Todd Duffee (fighting out of Raleigh, Ill.). The 23-year-old Evansville, Indiana born fighter holds a perfect 5-0 record and makes his UFC debut.
A former college wrestler, Englewood, New Jersey’s Nick Catone (fighting out of Brick, N.J.) used his grappling skills to earn a second-round submission victory against Derek Downey in his UFC debut. The 27-year-old middleweight with a 7-1 record heads into his third UFC match and will stare across the Octagon against decorated collegiate wrestler Mark Munoz (fighting out
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of Vallejo, Calif.). A former NCAA Division I national champion and two-time All-American at Oklahoma State, holds a 5-1 record and enters his second UFC match and first since dropping down to middleweight.
A third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is decorated in competition, Marcus Aurelio (fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) is a UFC veteran with two wins in the Octagon. The 35-year-old expert grappler looks to be the person that puts the first blemish on the record of lightweight Evan Dunham (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.). The 27-year-old Eugene, Oregon native holds an 8-0 record and a first-round TKO victory against Per Eklund in his debut at UFC 95.