A lightweight bout between contenders Kenny Florian (14-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) and Evan Dunham (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) originally targeted for UFC 126 in February instead is expected to headline the Jan. 22 “UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fight for the Troops 2” event.
Heavy.com first reported the change, which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has confirmed with a source close to the organization.
Although not announced, UFC Fight Night 23 is expected to take place in Texas with Fort Hood.
It’ll likely air on Spike TV, though as of Monday morning, officials told MMAjunkie.com that details are still being finalized and that working with the military can be a “slow process” because of security concerns.
Both Florian and Dunham look to recover from recent losses.
Dunham faced former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk in September and was dealt the first loss of his career via close split decision. After suffering a huge gash near his right eye in the opening round of the UFC 119 fight, Dunham battled back with an impressive blend of striking from distance and a capable takedown attack. Nevertheless, Sherk was granted the decision.
Prior to the loss, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt posted UFC wins over Per Eklund, Marcus Aurelio, Efrain Escudero and Tyson Griffin.
Florian, meanwhile, returns to the cage for the first time since suffering a unanimous-decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 118 in August. In a fight to determine the 155-pound division’s next title challenger, Florian was unable to defend against Maynard’s wrestling attack and lost the fight on all three judges’ cards.
The former title challenger now is just 2-2 in his past four fights, though the defeats have come at the hands of current No. 1 contender Maynard and former lightweight champion B.J. Penn.