The UFC’s year-end event is shaping up to be a good one.
Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will look to bounce back from his first UFC loss against the unheralded Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas
The UFC made the announcement Wednesday night.
Cruz (22-2) suffered his first defeat in nearly a decade when he lost a five-round unanimous decision to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207.
Rivera (21-1) has won 20 consecutive bouts as a pro including all five of his UFC contests. The 28-year-old’s victories over ranked contenders Pedro Munhoz, Thomas Almeida and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber cemented him among the elite in the 135-pound division.
This bout has serious title implications.
Garbrandt is slated to make his first title defence against T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event of UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4.
An intriguing strawweight matchup between the division’s inaugural champion Carla Esparza and rising star Cynthia Calvillo was also added to UFC 219.
Esparza (12-4) hasn’t been her dominant self since losing her belt to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March 2015. She is coming off a unanimous decision win over Maryna Moroz in June.
Meanwhile, Calvillo (6-0) has buzzed through her UFC competition, submitting Amanda Cooper in March, Pearl Gonzalez in April and outclassing Joanne Calderwood by unanimous decision in July.
Calvillo is ranked seventh in the 115-pound division; Esparza is ranked eighth.