UFC roundup: Henderson-Khabilov set for June

Benson Henderson will headline a UFC Fight Night event against Rustam Khabilov June 7 in Albuquerque. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will look to get one step closer to regaining the title when he headlines a UFC Fight Night event against Rustam Khabilov on June 7 in Albuquerque.

Henderson (20-3) is coming off a split-decision win over former Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson in January. That win helped him rebound from a submission loss to Anthony Pettis last August.

Khabilov (17-1) is unbeaten in the UFC with wins over Vinc Pichel, Yancy Medeiros and Jorge Masvidal. The rising Russian was originally scheduled to face Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 170 but an injury forced the cancellation of that bout.

The event will be the first the UFC has held in Albuquerque, the city where Greg Jackson’s famous MMA gym resides. Jackson’s gym has at one point or another been home to the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Donald Cerrone, Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez among many others. It’s currently where Khabilov trains.

A bout between talented welterweights Lance Benoist and Bobby Voelker has also been added to the card. Benoist has lost two straight and hasn’t fought since September 2012; the 25-year-old has been recovering from a broken leg. Meanwhile, Voekler is 0-3 in the UFC, so a win is paramount for both men.

Vancouver gets its first fight at UFC 174

TUF Brazil star Daniel Sarafian is set to meet Kiichi Kunimoto at UFC 174 in Vancouver on June 14. Sportsnet contributor E. Spencer Kyte broke the story for The Province.

Sarafian (8-4) will be moving down to welterweight after going 1-2 in the UFC’s 185-pound division. Kiichi Kunimoto (16-5-2, 1 NC) made his promotional debut in January, picking up a disqualification win when he received several illegal elbows to the back of his head courtesy of Luiz Jorge Dutra Jr.

The event takes place at Rogers Arena and will be the first UFC event in Vancouver since UFC 131 in June 2011.

Lightweights added to UFC 173

Standout striker Anthony Njokuani is set to face TUF Live veteran Vinc Pichel on the UFC 173 preliminary card. Njokuani (16-7, 1 NC) has alternated wins and losses dating back to his days in the WEC. He is coming off a knockout win over Roger Bowling last April, while Pichel (8-1) recently defeated Garett Whiteley in January.

UFC books back-to-back events

The UFC made their annual International Fight Week official with the announcement that promotion will hold back-to-back events in the same city for the first time.

UFC 175 will take place July 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, while the TUF 19 Finale is set for July 6 at the same venue. UFC International Fight Week festivities will last from July 1-6.

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