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Hughes, Franklin and Sylvia headline UFC 68: TheUprising

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship made the official announcement we all knew was coming — albeit uncharacteristically early.

UFC 68: The Uprising will be the first Ohio show for the organization, which will take place on March 3, 2007, at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Former champions Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin will return to action, propping up the "headliner" for the event, UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia.

All three fighters have ties either in or around the Ohio area, making it a great platform for them to showcase their talents in front of a hometown crowd.

Here's a snip from UFC President Dana White in the press release:

"We have been looking at holding a UFC in the Midwest for a long time, and the weekend of the Arnold Sports Festival presented the perfect opportunity for a UFC event. We are excited to come to Nationwide Arena and give UFC fans in Ohio an amazing event featuring great fighters who helped make the UFC the hottest name in sports today."

(For more information about the Arnold Sports Festival click here.)

The opponents for the three fighters were not announced or confirmed in the press release.

However, speculation has Sylvia fighting Brandon Vera provided he and the UFC can soon come to terms on a contract extension.

The most likely opponent for Franklin is upstart Canadian Jason MacDonald, who recently put Chris Leben to sleep at UFC 66.

As for Hughes, his situation is a bit more complicated.

He was supposed to fight welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre on April 7 at UFC 69 until the entire show shit the bed. Then, he requested a match up with Diego Sanchez, but was told he was unavailable because "Nightmare" is being saved for a title shot with St. Pierre later this year.

Therefore, it is possible that the former nine-time UFC welterweight champion might tussle with the Armenian Judo ace, Karo Parisyan.

We'll keep you updated on any and all fight updates.