Alejandro A. Alvarez / Philadelphia Daily News
Friday, Aug. 7, 2009 | 1:59 p.m.
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- Penn delivers encore performance
- Champs put on dominant display at UFC 101
- Tale of the Tape: Breakdown & Picks
- Fighters, Philadelphia fans weigh in
- Breaking down UFC 101: Penn vs. Florian
- The new and improved Kenny Florian
- Even champions need comebacks sometimes
- Breaking down UFC 101: Silva vs. Griffin
- Griffin returns to comfortable role as underdog
- Silva already putting on a show
- Road Blog from Philly
- Fighter says struggles only made him stronger
- Las Vegas fighter will battle in home state at UFC 101
- All-Star Victorino welcomes UFC to Philadelphia
- Philly native pumped for UFC's first event in hometown
- Complete UFC 101 coverage
PHILADELPHIA - Now it's official. The UFC has arrived in Philadelphia.
Fans got their first chance to see the organization in full effect at Friday's weigh-in at the Wachovia Center.
And they did what Philly fans do best - they booed.
"That's a Philly crowd for ya," commentator Joe Rogan said into his mic as the audience booed Thales Leites, presumably for a unimpressive performance in his last title fight with Anderson Silva.
Weigh-ins are always a good preview to the excitement of fight night, but this one certainly had an additional flavor because of the added excitement of being on the East Coast and in Philadelphia for the first time.
UFC ambassador and Philly native Burt Watson even made a quick appearance 10 minutes before the festivities started to get his hometown pumped up.
"I've told these guys that the people in Philly are the best fight fans in the world," Watson told the crowd. "I want you all to get buck wild in here and make some noise for these guys. The more noise you make, the better the action will be tomorrow night."
Main event fighters B.J. Penn and Kenny Florian both weighed-in at a perfect 155 pounds for their lightweight championship bout.
Florian, who has fought for the title before but lost to Sean Sherk, seemed confident and eager for Saturday to arrive.
"This is my dream, everybody wants to fight for the championship belt," he said. "That's what I'm going to do tomorrow, I will perform."
The usually polarizing Penn took a different approach to this fight, simply saying, "I'm in great shape, I'm going to do my best. That's it."
Anderson Silva made nervous gestures as he approached the scale and let out a big sigh of relief when it was announced that he weighed-in at 205 pounds. It's safe to say that the antics were sarcastic, Silva actually had to gain weight for this fight instead of cutting for his usual bouts in the middleweight division.
His opponent, Forrest Griffin also weighed-in at 205 and received the warmest reception from the Philly crowd.
Another fighter that shouldn't have been nervous about stepping on the scale was Las Vegas based fighter Amir Sadollah, who weighed-in at 166 pounds for his welterweight fight. It's pretty unusual for UFC fighters to over cut that much weight. Hopefully it's a strategic move and nothing's wrong with Sadollah, who already has a nasty past regarding injuries keeping him out of the Octagon.
One fighter that seemed to have a bit of a harder time than Silva making weight for his fight was welterweight Tamdan McCrory, who came onto the stage wearing a trashbag under his clothes and towels to remove any extra water weight lingering in his body. He did come in safely at 170 pounds.
"This might be his last fight at this weight," Rogan said.
Special guests at UFC 101 will include Matt Serra and (welcome back) Tito Oritz.
For those keeping score at home, every fighter either shook hands, bowed or hugged after posing for the staredown - except Penn and Florian.
These two used to be friends, but a UFC lightweight championship has a way of ending that. Should be a good one on Saturday.
Full weigh-in results:
BJ Penn (155) vs Kenny Florian (155)
Anderson Silva (205) vs Forrest Griffin (205)
Ricardo Almeida (185) vs Kendall Grove (185.5)
Josh Neer (155.5) vs Kurt Pellegrino (154.5)
Johny Hendricks (171) vs Amir Sadollah (166.5)
Aaron Riley (154) vs Shane Nelson (156)
John Howard (169.5) vs Tamdan McCrory (170)
Alessio Sakara (185.5) vs Thales Leites (185)
Dan Cramer (169.5) vs Matthew Riddle (170)
George Sotiropoulos (155) vs George Roop (154)
Danillo Villefort (170.25) vs Jesse Lennox (171)
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or email@example.com.