Versus will step into the Ultimate Fighting Championship ring for the first time on March 21, with a live, light heavyweight bout between Brandon Vera and Jon Jones.
Comcast's national sports network will televise the bout that night at 9 p.m. (ET) from the Odeum Colorado in Broomfield, Colo.
Versus has been the national cable home of the World Extreme Cagefighting since 2007 and in December reached a multiyear extension with Zuffa LLC, providing for seven live WEC fights and two UFC matches in 2010. Zuffa has sold a 10% stake to Flash Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi.
"Since 2007 fight fans have come to Versus for some of the most explosive MMA action on television and we can't wait for March 21 to arrive so that we can showcase the UFC on Versus, which will be the first time ever that a live UFC event will air on a national sports cable network," said Marc Fein, executive vice president of programming, production and business operations for Versus, in a statement. "What better way to kick off our partnership with the UFC than with a card headlined by two of the world's top light heavyweight contenders. This will be an incredible event that no sports fan should miss."
Vera (11-4), with seven UFC wins in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, is dangerous on his feet or on the ground. Vera, the 32-year-old former U.S. Air Force member from Norfolk, Va., is coming off a memorable match-up against UFC legend Randy Couture at UFC 105 and his fight against Michael Patt in which the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt defeated his opponent via TKO.
Jones (9-1), winner of his first three fights in the UFC, has made an immediate impression in the Octagon and is looking to get one step closer to a light heavyweight title shot. Jones earned unanimous decision victories over Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar in his first two UFC fights and submitted Jake O'Brien at UFC 100 in July 2009. "This is a fight that could go anywhere, and that's the beauty of this match-up," UFC President Dana White said. "Brandon Vera and Jon Jones represent the future of this sport in that they are both dangerous strikers and well-versed grapplers. This is the perfect fight for our return to Colorado and our debut on Versus, and we're committed to giving UFC fans an event to remember."