The last time The Garden State played host to a UFC event was UFC 78: Validation. "Sugar" Rashad Evan was on the winning side of a split decision over Michael "The Count" Bisping. Gate revenue was reported to total $2,100,000 and attendance reached 14,071.
Over the past decade, the UFC rolled into Jersey eight times. UFC's 28, 30, 31, 32, 41, 50 53 and previously mentioned 78.
IT DOESN'T TAKE A BRAIN SURGEON TO FIGURE OUT THAT SATURDAY WILL INEVITABLY CRUSH GATE ATTENDANCE AND REVENUE.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy - Maybe I'm on the outside looking in on. Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy? I don't get it, this kid is nothing by a product of the media building him up. Let us quickly review GSP's resume. November of 2006 he become the Welterweight champ (for the first time) at UFC 65, beating Matt Hughes. In his first title defense, Serra beats him on April 7th 2007. THAT IS THE MANS LAST LOSE. Since then 6 straight wins, 4 defending the very same title he won back from the same man who took it from him in the first place. His resume is a virtual who's who. Pete Spratt, Karo Parisyan, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, B.J. Penn, Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Thiago Alves. This man just beats whoever you put in front of him. You will have a hard time trying to convince me that Hardy belong in the same sentence as half of those "LEGENDS." Hardy's biggest win to date is over Mike Swick who doesn't really belong in the same sentence as almost every fighter listed on the GSP resume. (Tapout picks GSP, submission in the 3rd) (Darren Elkins picks GSP, TKO in the 2nd)
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin - Mir and Carwin have 20 first round stoppages between them. Come to think of it, Carwin has yet to enter the 2nd round during his tenure with the UFC. We all remember “Deathgate” and its time for Mir to put up or shut up. He's been running his mouth for the past few weeks. To the point where we get the feeling he's looking past Shane and focus on Brock and his belt. Well, the winner of this bout earns the right to welcome Brock back from injury/illness and go after his belt. (Tapout picks Mir, submission in the 2nd) (Darren Elkins picks Mir, submission in the 2nd)
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes - “Batman” returns home; to Gotham City. Pellegrino (New Jersey native) looks better then ever and will have a tough match with the fast-rising Brazilian grappler. Two big wins over Rob Emerson and Josh Neer means with a win over Camoes, Kurt will earn the right to mention his name when it comes to title contention at 155 pounds. Personally I think he will have to go through Gray Maynard to get there. (Tapout picks Pellegrino, KO in the 1st) (Darren Elkins picks Pellegrino, unanimous decision)
Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders – Ben steps in for Thiago Alves who had issues with his CT. Rumors started to circulate immediately that Dana White has been quoted saying he would give Sanders a title shot if he defeats Fitch. This has the potential to be an intelligent fans fight of the night. (Tapout picks Saunders, unanimous decision) (Darren Elkins picks Fitch, unanimous decision)
Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek – This fight will feature a battle for positioning as two of UFC's submission artists go head to head. Let's not forget there is always that outside chance that both guys avoid the ground game and resort to striking. However this one plays out, one thing is certain, the tension will electrify us all. (Tapout picks Miller, by unanimous decision) (Darren Elkins picks Miller, by submission in the 3rd)
Spike TV Prelims
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown – (Tapout picks Brown, by KO in the 1st) (Darren Elkins picks Almeida, by unanimous decision)
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham – (Tapout picks Diaz, by submission in the 2nd) (Darren Elkins picks Diaz, by submission in the 1st)
Rousimar Palhares vs. Tomasz Drwal – (Tapout picks Drwal, by KO in the 1st) (Darren Elkins picks Palhares, by submission in the 2nd)
Jarred Hamman vs. Rodney Wallace – (Tapout picks Hammam, by KO in the 1st) (Darren Elkins picks Hamman, by KO in the 2nd)
Matthew Riddle vs. Greg Soto – Prediction; This will be the last time we see Matt Riddle fight in the UFC. (Tapout picks Soto, by submission in the 2nd) (Darren Elkins picks Riddle, by unanimous decision)
***I just wanted to personally thank Darren "The Damage" Elkins. Coming off his UFC debut win over Duane Ludwig, Darren found the time to sit and talk UFC 111 with me***