The UFC has officially announced that Darren Elkins will make his Octagon debut against Duane “Bang” Ludwig at “UFC on Versus: Vera vs. Jones” on March 21st, completing the 11-bout dance card 12 days before the curtain is drawn.
The event takes place inside the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado and marks the UFC’s debut on the Versus Network.
A light heavyweight bout between Brandon Vera and the up-and-coming Jon Jones will headline the show, with the victor taking a ginormous leap towards becoming a legit contender in the UFC’s most prized division.
Vera, who was slated to meet Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 109 before Little Nog pulled out with an injury, was last seen dropping a controversial unanimous decision to UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 105 in Manchester, England.
Fortunately for Vera, Jones is more than a formidable opponent. The 22-year-old has taken the UFC world by storm since making his debut against Andre Gusmao at UFC 87 in August 2008. He was perfect through his first nine pro scraps entering his last contest against Matt Hamill at “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale,” however was DQ’d after he landed a couple illegal north-south elbow strikes to Hamill’s grill.
A pair of important heavyweight scraps will open for them as former top contender Gabriel Gonzaga will meet one of the division’s faster rising stars in Junior dos Santos, and Cheick Kongo will face MMA journeyman Paul Buentello as well.
Here are the fighters slated for the free Versus broadcast:
Darren Elkins vs. Duane Ludwig
Mike Pierce vs. Julio Paulino
Jason Brilz vs. Eric Schafer
Chase Gormley vs. Brendan Schaub
John Howard vs. Daniel Roberts
Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Clay Guida vs. Shannon Gugerty
James Irvin vs Alessio Sakara
Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Junior dos Santos
Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera