It was reported prior to UFC 119 that Jon Jones’ next potential punching bag would be the winner of the card’s co-main event between Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. According to the trusty ‘ol rumor mill, the light heavyweights will serve as the opening act for Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort on February 5th.
MMAWeekly.com first confirmed the scrap Saturday morning, however MMAJunkie verified moments later that Super Bowl weekend would play host. UFC 125 on New Year’s Day was the other rumored landing spot.
Bader took a lopsided unanimous decision over the veteran last Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bader is now perfect through his first 14 professional scraps and is staring a bout against the planet’s nastiest 23-year-old dead in the eyes.
After collecting his second consecutive 1stRound TKO victory en route to bumping his record to a dominant 11-1, the fast-rising Jones screamed for a step up in competition. While most thought Vladimir Matyushenko should have provided more resistance than he was able to at “UFC on Versus 2,” Jones proved he still hasn’t really been challenged in the sport of mixed martial arts.
While the Arizonan represents “Bones'” toughest test to date, there are only a few athletes “Mr. The Future is Now” wouldn’t be favored against and Bader certainly isn’t one of them.
The Las Vegas Strip is expected to host the pivotal matchup, but no word on whether it will be at the Mandalay Bay Event Center or larger MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Silva will defend his middleweight crown in the night’s main event. The two featured bouts are the only fights rumored for the pay-per-view event thus far.