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Penn vs Florian and Silva vs Griffin to Headline UFC 101 in Philly

The UFC is coming to Philadelphia for the first time on Saturday, August 8th, and its bringing the big guns for UFC 101, as BJ Penn defends his UFC lightweight crown for the second time against number one contender Kenny Florian, and UFC middleweight boss Anderson Silva jumps back to the 205-pound weight class to take on former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.

By Thomas Gerbasi

The UFC is coming to Philadelphia for the first time on Saturday, August 8th, and its bringing the big guns for UFC 101, as BJ Penn defends his UFC lightweight crown for the second time against number one contender Kenny Florian, and UFC middleweight boss Anderson Silva jumps back to the 205-pound weight class to take on former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.

Tickets for UFC 101, which will take place at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center, will go on sale shortly. Stay tuned for further details.

The pride of Hilo, Hawaii, UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn (13-5-1) is on practically everyone’s short list of best fighters in the world pound for pound, and on August 8th, he will be returning to the division he is the undisputed king of. Unbeaten at 155 pounds since 2002, Penn has taken out Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk in successive lightweight fights, and after suffering a setback in his challenge for Georges St-Pierre’s welterweight crown in January, Penn is eager to get back to his optimum weight to continue his reign of terror.

In just six years as a pro, Kenny “KenFlo” Florian (13-3) has done nearly everything in the sport of mixed martial arts, as he’s fought in the middleweight, welterweight, and lightweight divisions, earned a spot in the finals on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and beat some of the best fighters in the world in the process. The only thing missing for the 32-year old from Boston is a world championship, and after winning six in a row (including victories over Joe Lauzon, Joe Stevenson, and Roger Huerta), Florian is peaking at the right time for his second shot at the belt.

Currently sporting the longest consecutive win streak in UFC history at nine, UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (24-4) has also tied the organization record for most consecutive successful title defenses at five, beating the likes of Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Patrick Cote, and Thales Leites along the way. But the 34-year old native of Curitiba, Brazil is not satisfied yet, so he is tackling the light heavyweight division once again on August 8th, and if his first 205-pound bout – a 61 second knockout of James Irvin last July – is any indication, the big boys had better watch out for this lethal “Spider”.

The winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and a man credited by many as one of the reasons for the explosion of MMA in the United States following that TUF finale bout in 2005, Forrest Griffin (16-5) isn’t a fighter who will take credit for such achievements – he just wants to fight, and with UFC wins over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua under his belt, the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion has more than proved himself in the Octagon. On August 8th, the 30-year old Griffin looks to fight his way back into the title picture after his loss to Rashad Evans last December, and there’s no better way for him to do that than by handing Anderson Silva his first UFC loss.

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