The long awaited debut of the UFC in New York will happen Saturday, November 12th, at Madison Square Garden. With the event just 9 weeks away it’s been very odd that the UFC had made no official fight announcements, until today.
Dana White announced the first official fight which will be at Welterweight with former champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (27-11), of American Top Team, taking on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (31-7), of JacksonWink’s & the BMF Ranch. Lawler is said to be very anxious to get back in the octagon following losing the title, via 1st round knock out to Tyron Woodley, at UFC 202. The loss ended what was a 5 fight win streak. Since returning to the UFC and the 170 lbs division Lawler has gone 8-2, with 4 knock out wins. Cerrone is on a 3 fight win streak since moving up from Lightweight to Welterweight , with wins over Alex Oliveira (sub), Patrick Cote (tko), and Rick Story (tko). Since November of 2013 “Cowboy” has won 11 of 12 fights.
Lawler’s, ATT teammate and former Welterweight title challenger Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (21-10) will move down to Lightweight, to face Long Island’s, Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) of the Serra-Longo Fight Team. Alves fought for the title back at UFC 100, but has went 4-3 since. A decision win over Seth Baczynski and a knock out of Jordan Mein, led Alves to a main event meeting with Carlos Condit. The doctor would stop that fight after the 2nd round; and inspired this weigh-class change. Iaquinta, who was a TUF 15 finalist, is on a 4 fight win streak, 3 TKO wins, and is coming off a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal; but that was 17 months ago.
One fight rumored to be incredibility close to official fight, will also be Serra-Long vs. American Top Team, with former Middleweight champion Chris Weidman the number 2 ranked 185 lbs. contender taking on number 4 ranked contender Yoel Romero (11-1). Weidman suffered his first career loss and lost the UFC Middleweight title via TKO to Luke Rockhold, at UFC 194. Weidman was scheduled to rematch Rockhold at UFC 199, this past June, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. Weidman has 6 knock outs and 3 submissions on his record. Romero hasn’t fought since December because of a USADA case that in all led to a 6-month suspension. Romero is undefeated, a perfect 7-0 at 185 lbs., with 5 knock outs.