Renan Barao vs. Luke Sanders, two other bouts booked for UFC’s ESPN premiere
By Alexander K. Lee @AlexanderKLee Dec 14, 2018Renan Barao
is getting another chance to put his career back on track. And at bantamweight, no less.
The former UFC champion will once again attempt to hit the 135-pound mark when he fights Luke Sanders (12-3
) at the UFC’s ESPN debut on Feb. 17 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, officials announced Friday.
ESPN was first to report the matchup.
Barao’s last outing, a split decision loss to Andre Ewell
in September, was contested at a catchweight after Barao (34-7, 1 NC)
came in over five pounds heavy. That was the Brazilian’s third straight loss and fifth in his last six outings, a rough stretch that includes his failed bid to regain the bantamweight championship from T.J. Dillashaw
back in July 2015. His lone victory since then was a unanimous decision win over Phillipe Nover
in a featherweight contest.
From May 2005 to February 2014, Barao recorded 31 consecutive victories (including one no contest). He captured a UFC interim bantamweight title (which was eventually promoted to undisputed status in the absence of then-champion Dominick Cruz) in 2012 and successfully defended it three times before losing it to Dillashaw.
Sanders will also be looking to break out of a funk after dropping three of his last four fights. “Cool Hand” entered the UFC with a 10-0 record and had a successful debut submitting Maximo Blanco in January 2016, but his only win since has been a unanimous decision nod over Patrick Williams. In his most recent outing this past August, Sanders lost via first-round submission to Rani Yahya.
Two other bouts were announced for the Feb. 17 show: Andre Fili (18-6) vs. Myles Jury (17-3) and Scott Holtzman (12-2) vs. Nik Lentz (29-9-2, 1 NC).
Fili is coming off of a close split-decision loss to Michael Johnson, while Jury’s last outing saw him finished via first-round TKO by Chad Mendes. Both fighters had two-fight win streaks snapped and will now compete to regain their career momentum. Their matchup was first reported by FloCombat.
Holtzman is currently on a three-fight win streak, his best stretch since joining the UFC three years ago. He knocked out Alan Patrick at UFC 229 after recording back-to-back unanimous decision wins over Darrell Horcher and Michael McBride. He’ll look to continue that run against Lentz, a veteran of 21 UFC bookings. “The Carny” has had mixed results since moving back up to 155 pounds, going 4-3 in his return to the weight class.
Most recently, Lentz defeated Gray Maynard by second-round TKO at UFC 229 to boost his overall UFC record to 13-6-1 (with one no contest).
ESPN was first to report the Holtzman-Lentz pairing.Source:https://www.mmafighting.com/2018/12/14/18141136/renan-barao-vs-luke-sanders-two-other-bouts-booked-for-ufcs-espn-premiere