The Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced that its first live event in Phoenix, on Saturday, Dec. 13 at US Airways Center, will be headlined by a pivotal heavyweight clash between former UFC® heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos and fourth-ranked Stipe Miocic. The event will also feature at least five competitors with Arizona ties.
One of the best heavyweights in UFC history, No. 2 contender Dos Santos (16-3, fighting out of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil) returns to the Octagon® for the first time since the final fight in his trilogy of bouts with current champion Cain Velasquez. Miocic (12-1, fighting out of Cleveland, Ohio), with consecutive wins over top contenders Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga and, most recently, Fabio Maldonado, is one of the hottest names in the division, and he hopes to keep his momentum going by taking the next step toward a shot at the heavyweight title.
In the co-main event, fiery lightweight Nate Diaz (18-9, fighting out of Stockton, Calif.) makes his highly anticipated return against third-ranked Rafael Dos Anjos (22-7, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). After a near 13-month hiatus, Diaz looks to reestablish himself as a top contender in the 155-pound division. Beating Dos Anjos will be no easy feat, as the Brazilian standout boasts a two-fight win streak that includes a stunning first-round knockout of former lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
Plus, former STRIKEFORCE® heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (37-14, 1NC, fighting out of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) faces 6’11” contender Stefan Struve(29-6, fighting out of Beverwijk, The Netherlands) in a hard-hitting heavyweight bout. Struve has won four out of his last five, with victories over Miocic, Lavar Johnson, Dave Herman and Pat Barry.
The Phoenix card will also feature former title challenger and longtime UFC veteran (No. 12) Gabriel Gonzaga (16-8, fighting out of Ludlow, Mass.) taking on surging former NFL player Matt Mitrione (8-3, fighting out of Indianapolis, Ind.). In addition, former Arizona State University NCAA Division I wrestler John Moraga (15-3, fighting out of Phoenix, Ariz.) meets fourth-ranked contender Jussier Formiga (17-3, fighting out of Natal, Brazil.) in the flyweight division.
Additional bouts include:
- Phoenix native Joe Riggs (28-9, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz.) returns to the UFC after eight years against veteran Ben Saunders (17-6-2, fighting out of Orlando, Fla.) in a welterweight bout.
- Former WEC® lightweight champion Jamie Varner (21-10-1, 2NC, fighting out of Scottsdale, Ariz.) meets The Ultimate Fighter season 15 contestant Drew Dober(14-6, fighting out of Omaha, Neb.).
- The Ultimate Fighter season 3 finalist Ed Herman (22-9, 1 NC, fighting out of Fort Collins, Colo.) faces rising middleweight star Derek Brunson (11-3, fighting out of Wilmington, N.C.).
- In the lightweight division, Joe Ellenberger (15-1, fighting out of Omaha, Neb.) takes on UFC newcomer Bryan Barberena (9-2, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz.).
- Plus, Anthony Birchak (11-1, fighting out of Tucson, Ariz.) and Ian Entwistle (8-2, fighting out of Phuket, Thailand.) will square off in a bantamweight bout.
Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT™: DOS SANTOS vs. MIOCIC go on sale Friday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. PT and are priced at $200, $150, $100, $75, $50 and $40. Tickets will be available at the US Airways Center Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or on the web at www.ticketmaster.com. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. Ticket prices do not include applicable service charges.
UFC Fight Club™ members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. PT via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Oct. 9 starting at 10 a.m. PT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT: DOS SANTOS vs. MIOCIC will be available live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 13, with prelims kicking off on FOX Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
For more information or current fight news, visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.
About the Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC®) is the premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization and largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Headquartered in Las Vegas with offices in London, Toronto, Beijing, Singapore and Sao Paulo, UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe. UFC programming is broadcast in 129 countries to nearly 800 million TV households worldwide in 28 different languages. The UFC has a multi-year broadcast agreement with FOX in the U.S., which annually includes four live events broadcast on the FOX network, as well as The Ultimate Fighter® reality television show and thousands of hours of programming on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. In 2014, UFC launched UFC FIGHT PASS™, a digital subscription service with exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content. The UFC organization also licenses over 100 UFC GYM®locations, and owns UFC.TV® (offering live event broadcasts and video on-demand around the world), UFC FIT™ (an in-home fitness and nutrition program), UFC Magazine, and has a videogame franchise with EA SPORTS, UFC Fight Club®, UFC Fan Expo®, Octagon™ branded apparel, DVDs and Blu-rays and Topps Trading Cards. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter and Instagram: @UFC.