Saturday, April 7, 2007


By Aaron Crecy

Laden with cast members from “The Ultimate Fighter” reality television series, UFC 69 is the manifestation of either an innovative developmental system or an ingenious marketing vehicle. Nonetheless, the evening will serve as a proving ground, as many of the card’s 11 “TUF” alums face their toughest opposition to date.

In the main event, Matt Serra challenges UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, having defeated Chris Lytle in the TUF 4 finale to garner the title shot. Serra is an overwhelming underdog who enters the bout with a 5-4 career record in the Octagon. With the 170-pound division considered by many mixed martial arts pundits to be the UFC’s strongest, Serra will need a strong showing to earn a spot on subsequent pay-per-view cards—a convincing loss could plummet the undersized welterweight’s stock to pre-TUF levels.

Meanwhile, TUF 1 rivals Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck will vie for a spot on the top rung of the welterweight ladder. There is little love lost between the two, with Sanchez having defeated Koscheck by decision in the TUF 1 semifinals, a contest that does not appear on either fighter’s professional record. Since the reality show, Sanchez has maintained an unblemished resume, including victories over Karo Parisyan, Nick Diaz and Joe Riggs. This marks the first PPV appearance for the ever-improving Koscheck.

Just one of the nine scheduled fights involves contestants without TUF ties. In other TUF pairings, Luke Cummo takes on Josh Haynes and Marcus Davis squares off with Pete Spratt—the losers of those bouts will be at a crossroads in their UFC careers. Meanwhile, Mike Swick and Kendall Grove look to extend their win streaks inside the Octagon, while Brad Imes and Pete Sell fight for UFC survival.

Visit The Fight Network for Loretta Hunt’s live play-by-play tonight.

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