It looks like UFC 187 has quickly emerged as one of the most stacked cards in UFC history.

On Wednesday afternoon, the UFC announced a pair of highly anticipated title fights had officially been added to the Memorial Day fight event.

In the main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will look to make it nine straight title defenses as he squares off against the heavy hitting Blackzillian product Anthony Johnson

Jones (21-1), currently the number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter on the planet according the The MMA Corner’s fighter rankings, was last seen earning a unanimous decision over bitter rival Daniel Cormier in their main event title fight at UFC 182 early this month. It was not soon after all hell broke loose in Jones’ life as it was revealed pre-fight drug test results revealed he had tested positive for cocaine. However, since the Nevada State Athletic Commission follows the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, Jones was not suspended due to the fact the fact cocaine is not considered a banned out-of-competition substance. As a result, Jones was not handed a suspension.

Johnson (19-4) earned his shot at the belt with an violent first round TKO over former title contender Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC on FOX 14 in Sweden last month. This victory gave ‘Rumble’ wins in 11 of hist last 12, including nine straight. He will enter this bout with 13 careers stoppage wins all of which have ended by way of knockout, including a  UFC record four coming inside the first minute.

In the night’s co-main event, reigning champion Chris Weidman square off against Johnson’s teammate Vitor Belfort.

The two were originally slated to face off in the main event of UFC 184, which will take place next weekend in Los Angeles, before a rib injury forced Weidman out of the bout.

This marked the third time the fight between these two men had been rescheduled.

Weidman and Belfort were originally scheduled to meet at UFC 173 in May before Belfort withdrew from the bout in wake of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to ban Testosterone Replacement Therapy. Weidman would go on to defend his belt against Belfort’s replacement Lyoto Machida by decision in spectacular fashion in a Fight of the Night performance  at UFC 175 in July.

The fight between Weidman and Belfort was then rebooked for UFC 181 in Las Vegas on Dec. 6.  However, this time it was Weidman who pulled out after injuring his hand in camp, forcing the UFC to once again reschedule the bout

Prior to defeating Machida, Weidman (12-0) defended his title at UFC 168 against former middleweight champion and pound-for-pound best Anderson Silva, the very man he won the belt from when he shocked the world at UFC 162 in July 2013. He will enter this bout with eight career stoppage victories, including five by way of knockout.

Belfort (24-10), a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has not been seen since walking away with a violent first-round head kick knockout over Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 in November 2013. This gave ‘The Phenom’ five straight stoppage victories as a middleweight, including three straight by way of knockout.

In addition to the two title fights headlining UFC 187, three more hotly contested bouts were made official Wednesday.

In the lightweight division, a shot at the UFC lightweight belt could very well be on the line as the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov does battle with fan favorite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Nurmagomedov (22-0), a Sambo world champion, will enter this bout looking to make it six straight wins inside the octagon. In his most recent win, ‘The Eagle’ dominated current number one contender Rafael dos Anjos en route to a unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 11 last April. He was then scheduled to face Cerrone at UFC 178 last September before a knee injury in camps forced him out of the contest.  He will enter this bout 15 career stoppage wins, including eight by way of submission, and is currently the UFC record holder for most takedowns in a single UFC fight (21 takedowns on 27 attempts), which came against Abel Trujillo at UFC 160 last May.

Cerrone (27-6) is coming off a razor-thin unanimous decision over former champion Benson Henderson in the co-main event of UFC FIght Night 59 last month. This victory extended Cerrone’s already impressive six fight win streak. Prior to his this win,  ‘Cowboy’ scored back-to-back decision wins over then undefeated Myles Jury and former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Cerrone had previously rattled off four straight stoppage victories before these two decision, earning a post fight bonus in each of them. He currently holds 19 career stoppage wins, including 15 by way of submission, and a UFC record of 14-3.

At heavyweight, former teammates will square off as the towering Travis Browne battles former UFC champion Andrei “Pitbull” Arlovski.

Browne (17-2) was last seen earning an effortless first round TKO over Brendan Schaub at UFC 181 in December. This win got ‘Happa’ back into the win column after suffering a lopsided decision loss to current UFC interim champion Fabricio Werdum last April. Browne was heavily favored going into that heavyweight title deliminator in Orlando, but Werdum had his way with the Hawaiian for the entire 25-minutes. Prior to this setback, Browne picked up three straight knockout victories over former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga, former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem and former UFC champion Josh Barnett.

Arlovski (23-10) is coming off a first round knockout win over Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in the main event of UFC Fight Night 51 in September. This marked “The Pitbull’s” second straight win since returning to the UFC in June. He previously defeated Brenden Schaub by way of controversial decision at UFC 174 in June. This marked Arlovski’s first appearance inside a UFC octagon since UFC 82 in 2008.

And finally in the flyweight division, pair of former title contender will do battle as Team Alpha Male product Joseph Benavidez faces Arizona’s proudest son John Moraga.

Benavidez (21-4) will be looking to make it three straight since suffering a first round knockout defeat to current 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson back in December 2013. In his most recent effort, Benavidez defeated Roufusport product Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 57 in November. Prior to this win, he scored a first round submission win over Tim Elliot at UFC 172 last April, earning a Performance of the Night bonus in the process

Moraga (16-3), a former wrestler out of Arizona State University, was last seen locking on a very tight third round rear naked choke against promotion newcomer Willie Gates at UFC on FOX 13 in December. This marked Moraga’s second straight submission win after previously defeating the highly touted Justin Scoggins with a second round guillotine at UFC Fight Night 50.

UFC 187 is currently scheduled to take place on May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

 

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.