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UFC® ANNOUNCES JACKSON vs. JARDINE TO HEADLINE UFC® 96

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Former UFC® Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was at his devastating best last December as he settled his score with Wanderlei Silva via a chilling first round knockout. On Saturday, March 7, Jackson will look to move one step closer to regaining his title when he takes on the man who beat both Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine. For the third year in a row, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® is heading back to Columbus, Ohio for UFC 96: JACKSON vs. JARDINE, live from the Nationwide Arena on Saturday, March 7, 2009.

Live from the Nationwide Arena, Saturday March 7, 2009 – Tickets on Sale Now

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Former UFC® Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was at his devastating best last December as he settled his score with Wanderlei Silva via a chilling first round knockout.  On Saturday, March 7, Jackson will look to move one step closer to regaining his title when he takes on the man who beat both Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine. For the third year in a row, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® is heading back to Columbus, Ohio for UFC 96: JACKSON vs. JARDINE, live from the Nationwide Arena on Saturday, March 7, 2009.

Fresh off his stunning knockout victory at UFC 92 over mixed martial arts legend Silva, the charismatic and always exciting Jackson (29-7, fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) is hot on the trail of new light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans. But first he’ll have to get by Evans’ teammate, Jardine.

“Keith Jardine is the Dean of Mean, but I’m new on the scene,” Jackson said. “I’m the new Rampage, and I’m on a quest to get my belt back.”

Standing in Jackson’s way is Jardine (14-5-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.). A hard-hitting and imposing fighter in the Octagon™ man who holds wins over former UFC light heavyweight champions Liddell and Griffin, as well as highly-regarded Brandon Vera, the native of Butte, Montana native is excited to be back in the main event at UFC 96.

“I’ve been fortunate to get big matches like this,” Jardine said. “I’m pretty excited and I didn’t hesitate to take it. I think it’s a great matchup and I expect that we both would want to stand up and throw powerful punches. It’s a can’t-miss with this fight.”

The UFC first arrived in Columbus for one historic night in March 2007 as Randy Couture beat Tim Sylvia and won the heavyweight crown for an unprecedented third time in the main event of UFC 68. The show’s gate, which surpassed $3 million, set a Nationwide Arena record; and the 19,000 fans who saw the fights live helped set a record for the highest North American attendance figure for a mixed martial arts event.

Last March, the UFC returned to Columbus as 15,300 people watched Anderson Silva successfully defend his middleweight title against then PRIDE® champion Dan Henderson. The star-studded matchup grossed a gate of $2.2 million at Nationwide.

Tickets for UFC 96 are on sale and are priced at $350, $250, $150, $100, $60 and $35. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, and by telephone at 800-929-1111 or (614) 431-3600. Tickets also are available for purchase at ufc.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

UFC 96 will be available live on pay-per-view on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, TVN, Bell ExpressVu, Shaw Communications and Viewer’s Choice Canada for a suggested retail price of $44.95 for standard definition or high-definition broadcasts (where available).

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