Demetrious Johnson will make his second flyweight title defence against John Moraga in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale card in Las Vegas on April 13.
Johnson, who won the belt at UFC 152 in September by split decision over Joseph Benavidez, is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over John Dodson last month. Some thought the next title shot would go to Benavidez, who defeated Ian McCall at UFC 156 earlier this month, considering their bout in Toronto for the inaugural title was so close. Instead Moraga, who has won seven straight including both his UFC fights, gets the nod.
The 26-year-old Johnson (17-2-1) is undefeated since dropping to 125 pounds after a loss to Dominick Cruz for the UFC’s bantamweight title. It will be the second time as champion headlining a UFC event on free TV; his win over Dodson was the main event of UFC on FOX 6, which drew solid viewership numbers.
Moraga (13-1) is coming off a submission of Chris Cariaso at UFC 155 in December.
The news, which was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and then confirmed by the UFC, comes shortly after the announcement of a women’s bantamweight bout between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano to take place at the show, which will be held at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Also recently announced for the card, which will air on Sportsnet in Canada, is a heavyweight bout between Gabriel Gonzaga and Travis Browne and a couple featherweight tilts — Cole Miller meets Bart Palaszewski and Justin Lawrence takes on Daniel Pineda.
NOTES: A featherweight matchup between Chad Mendes and Manny Gamburyan has been scrapped from next week’s UFC 157 due to multiple injuries suffered by Gamburyan. No replacement has been found, meaning Mendes is off the card entirely, according to a tweet from the former No. 1 contender …
Tristar’s Francis Carmont will welcome former Strikeforce fighter Lorenz Larkin to the UFC in a middleweight matchup at UFC on FOX 7 on April 20 in San Jose, UFC officials announced over the weekend. Both the Frenchman Carmont, who now lives full-time in Montreal, and the former light-heavyweight Larkin, are 4-0 under the Zuffa banner …
The UFC’s upcoming trip to Sweden got three new bouts over the weekend: Matt Mitrione vs. Philip De Fries (heavyweight), Ryan Couture vs. Ross Pearson (lightweight) and Ben Alloway vs. Ryan LaFlare (welterweight). The April 6 event, UFC on FUEL TV 9, headlined by the light-heavyweight bout between Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson and Iran’s Gegard Mousasi, sold out in a few hours on Saturday.