It looks like the UFC 189 undercard could turn into a little welterweight tournament.

A pair of 170-pound contests between Brandon Thatch and John Howard as well as Gunnar Nelson and John Hathaway were announced as key additions to the highly anticipate UFC 189 card in July. UFC officials announced the pairing of Nelson and Hathaway while Ariel Helwani of UFC Tonight broke the news on Thatch vs. Howard.

Initially it was reported Thatch would be squaring off against Jordan Mein but instead it looks like Howard will get the nod,

Thatch (11-2), a Denver native, was originally scheduled to face Jordan Mein at UFC Fight Night 49 before being forced to pull out with a toe injury. In his most recent, fans saw him on the wrong end of a thrilling come from behind submission to Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night 60 in February. This setback not only snapped his 10 fight win streak, but marked the first time in his career he was finished. Prior to this performance ‘Ruckus’ walked away with a first round submission win over Paulo Thiago at UFC Fight Night 32 in November 2013. Thatch also boasts an astounding record of six career knockouts ending in less than a minute.

Howard (22-10), a former Ring of Combat and CES MMA middleweight champion, will enter this bout looking to put an end to his three fight losing streak, with his most recent ending in a first round TKO loss to Lorenz Larkin at UFC Fight Night 59 in January. Prior to this string of loses, the man known as ‘Doomsday’ picked up two straight victories, including an upset victory over The Ultimate Fighter 17 standout Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night 26. Howard will enter this bout with 15 career stoppage victories, including nine by way of knockout.

Nelson (13-1-1), a member of the famed Straight Blast Gym in Ireland, will be looking to bounce back from the first loss of his career after  dropping a heart fought split decision to Rick Story in October. Prior to this setback, ‘Guni’ was riding a 14 fight unbeaten streak, including four straights wins under the UFC banner. He will enter this bout with 12 career stoppage wins, with nine ending by way of submission.

Hathaway (17-2) has not been seen since suffering a nose shattering spinning back elbow knockout loss to Dong Hyun Kim in March 2014. Prior to this setback, the Englishman had earned wins in eight of his nine bouts, including a unanimous decision over fan favorite Diego Sanchez. He will enter this bout with nine career stoppage wins, with five ending by way of knockout.

UFC 189 is currently scheduled to take place on July 11 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A featherweight title fight between 145-pound kingpin Jose Aldo and Irish megastar Conor McGregor will serve as the headlining act while a welterweight title fight between newly crowned champion Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald will meet in the co-main event.


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, 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.