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Fight between Jon Jones and Rampage Jackson set for UFC 135

Matt Hughes and Diego Sanchez also on the Denver card

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Justin M. Bowen

Jon Jones does a cartwheel as he enters the arena to face Ryan Bader for their light heavyweight bout at UFC 126 Saturday, February 5, 2011 at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Jones won by submission.

Mixed martial arts’ newest superstar will officially meet one of the sport’s biggest names in his first title defense.

UFC officials confirmed Tuesday that Jon Jones (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8 MMA, 7-2 UFC) will face each other in a light heavyweight title bout in the UFC 135 main event Sept. 24 in Denver.

The matchup was expected ever since Jackson defeated Matt Hamill last month at UFC 130, but took some time to finalize, as both fighters needed a doctor’s clearance for minor hand injuries. Both appear ready to go for the event, which is expected to take place at the Pepsi Center.

“I don’t really know Jones,” Jackson said after UFC 130. “I don’t have anything against him as of yet except he has my belt. I still feel like I didn’t lose that belt. That’s the only thing I’ve got with him. But it’s not his fault he has my belt. It’s my fault.”

Jones captured the 205-pound championship in March by dismantling Shogun Rua. Jackson had the belt for more than a year before dropping a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin in the summer of 2008.

Both share in common a feud with another former light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans. If Evans beats Phil Davis at UFC 133 in Philadelphia, he’s expected to get the winner of Jones vs. Jackson.

Four other bouts are confirmed for UFC 135 so far. UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (45-8 MMA, 18-6 UFC) will fight ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season one champion Diego Sanchez (23-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) in a welterweight bout that could fill the co-main event slot.

Japanese star Kid Yamamoto (18-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Damacio Page (12-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will also meet.

“These are two of the most aggressive sluggers in the always-exciting bantamweight division," UFC President Dana White said in a statement.

Two heavyweight fights have also been agreed upon. UFC 130 Knockout of the Night winner Travis Browne (11-0-1 MMA, 1-0-1 UFC) will face Rob Broughton (15-5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), while world kickboxing champion Mark Hunt (6-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC) challenges veteran Ben Rothwell (31-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC).

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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