by Brian Knapp
The UFC’s latest stop in New Jersey has begun to take shape.
Martin Kampmann will square off with Ben Saunders in a pivotal welterweight bout at UFC 111 “St. Pierre vs. Hardy” on March 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Six matches are now official for the event, which will be headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Georges St. Pierre and Dan Hardy.
Based at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas, Kampmann rebounded from his technical knockout loss to Paul Daley in September with a first-round submission victory over Jacob Volkmann at UFC 102 earlier this month. The 27-year-old Dane owns key wins against former World Extreme Cagefighting welterweight champion Carlos Condit, middleweight slugger Drew McFedries and one-time UFC middleweight title contender Thales Leites. A well-rounded competitor, Kampann has 13 finishes under his belt -- six of them by submission, seven of them by knockout or TKO.
The once-beaten Saunders raised more than a few eyebrows when he knocked out the durable Marcus Davis with a series of opening-round knees at UFC 106 in November. The 26-year-old American Top Team standout opened his professional mixed martial arts career with back-to-back draws and has gone the distance only once since. A potent clinch fighter who, at 6-foot-3, towers over many welterweights, Saunders was a quarter-finalist on Season 6 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.
A pair of distinguished lightweights also answered the bell for UFC 111, as International Fight League veteran Jim Miller will collide with Canadian ground specialist Mark Bocek.
Miller will carry a three-fight winning streak into the match. The 26-year-old last appeared at UFC 108 two weeks ago, when he submitted Duane Ludwig with a first-round armbar. Anchored at the AMA Fight Club, Miller has secured more than half (10) of his 16 career victories by submission and holds noteworthy wins over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Mac Danzig and WEC veterans Muhsin Corbbrey, Anthony Morrison and Bart Palaszewski. His only two defeats, both by decision, came to top lightweight contenders Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar.
Now affiliated with American Top Team, Bocek has rattled off three consecutive victories since submitting to a Danzig choke at UFC 83. The 28-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt scored a first-round submission against Octagon newcomer Joe Brammer at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale in December and has gone the distance only once in his 10-fight MMA career.
Other matchups made official for the event include an interim heavyweight title fight pairing Frank Mir with the undefeated Shane Carwin, a light heavyweight tilt pitting EliteXC veteran Jared Hamman with Rodney Wallace and a welterweight showdown matching Matt Riddle with Ricardo Funch.