Based out of the ATT branch in Orlando, Fla., Saunders (5-0-2) has not competed since he earned a unanimous decision against Dan Barrera at “The Ultimate Fighter 6” Live Finale in December. The 6-foot-3 welterweight has reeled off five consecutive victories, four of them by KO, TKO or submission.
Thomas (9-1), meanwhile, will enter his UFC debut on a two-fight winning streak. He last appeared in April when he stopped Jason Bowling on strikes at an Extreme Challenge event in Danville, Ill. A former Division I wrestler at Eastern Illinois University, Thomas suffered his only career defeat in January, as he tapped out to a third-round armbar from International Fight League veteran Jesse Lennox. None of his 10 fights have gone the distance.
A welterweight championship match between reigning 170-pound king Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) and Jon Fitch (Pictures) will headline UFC 87, along with a heavyweight bout pairing Heath Herring (Pictures) with former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Brock Lesnar (Pictures). In addition, lightweight contenders Kenny Florian (Pictures) and Roger Huerta (Pictures) will collide inside the Octagon.