. fast facts
Though injuries forced some shuffling of the card, the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes to Tampa for the first time with a card that remains promising thanks to a number of former Ultimate Fighter participants. Former local wrestler Luigi Fioravanti (Pinellas Park) takes on Anthony Johnson in one of the televised bouts, hoping to break through and become a title contender. The other televised bouts include rising 24-year-old star Joe Lauzon (16-4 overall, 4-1 in UFC) vs. late sub Jeremy Stephens (16-3, 3-2 in UFC and replacing the injured Hermes Franca) in the night's main event; heavyweight Denis Stojnic (12-1) making his UFC debut against intriguing heavyweight and former Arizona State All-America wrestler Cain Velasquez (4-0, all first-round knockouts); and Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig (19-5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Josh Neer (24-7-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC).
John C. Cotey, Times staff writer