The next three UFCs are all featuring some seriously good match-making (bitching about Liddell/Jardine aside) but UFC 77 is looking weak so far.
Although the desire to fill local cards with local fighters sometimes supersedes simply using the best talent available, the UFC isn't sacrificing anything with its crop of Ohio fighters.
Top UFC middleweight contender and Cincinnati native Rich Franklin headlines the event with a title shot against current 185-pound champion Anderson Silva. Franklin lost his belt to Silva in October 2006, and after racking up two wins against quality opponents (Jason MacDonald and Yushin Okami), "Ace" will try to reclaim the title.
Jorge Gurgel, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who runs a training academy in West Chester, has also been given a spot on the card. Since appearing as a cast member on "The Ultimate Fighter 2," Gurgel has gone 2-1 in the UFC to push his overall record to 11-2. He's now awaiting word on a possible opponent for his undercard bout.
Additionally, Cleveland's Forrest Petz, fresh off a solid unanimous-decision victory over Luigi Fioravanti in June, has surfaced as a possible opponent for Josh Burkman.
I'm pretty interested in seeing Marvin Eastman/Demian Maia but that could be a dud, so here's hoping that Jason McDonald/Yushin Okami pans out and that Gurgel fights someone bad ass otherwise it'll be a pretty good card for the Cincinnati Tough Man competition and not much more.