The Ultimate Fighter 1 runner-up Stephan Bonnar will go toe-to-toe with Eric Schafer at UFC 77 in Cincinnati.
After losing to Forrest Griffin in the finals of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, Bonnar strung together 3 straight UFC wins over Sam Hoger, James Irvin, and Keith Jardine. His momentum was put on hold after Bonnar dropped back-to-back fights for the first time in his career losing to Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 5 and Forrest Griffin at UFC 62. He took another hit after testing positive for steroids following the loss to Griffin. After serving his 9 month suspension Bonnar returned at UFC 73 defeating Mike Nickels by submission in the first round.
By the time this fight rolls around Schafer will have been off for nearly 9 months. Schafer defeated Rob MacDonald in his UFC debut at UFC 62 but was defeated by Michael Bisping at UFC 66 last December. Schafer was then booked to face Sean Salmon at UFC 71 in May but was forced to withdraw from the bout after fracturing a rib.
According to Schafer the fighters shared a kickboxing coach up until a few weeks ago:
Stephan and I shared the same kickboxing coach (Duke Roufus), until Stephan moved out to Vegas a few weeks ago. I would probably rather fight anyone else to avoid conflicts, but business is business… So it is on! Stephan is a cool guy, so I guess I will have to generate some false animosity to push my training sessions. I am jealous that his minivan is a little cooler than my crappy neon, so I will start there. That dirty SOB!