With a women’s championship headliner in place, UFC 170 got a little extra padding for its main card on Saturday night with the addition of a lightweight contenders fight. Former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (22-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will meet Khabib Nurmagomedov (21-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) when the UFC returns to Las Vegas in late February. UFC officials made the booking official following Saturday’s UFC 168 card.
UFC 170 takes place Feb. 22 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The main card now will feature a headliner between women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann, a bout announced by UFC President Dana White following UFC 168 card, where Rousey defended her title against Miesha Tate. Rashad Evans and Daniel Cormier, Cormier’s debut at light heavyweight, will be the co-feature on a main card that airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and the UFC’s new “Fight Pass” digital network.
Melendez will return following his “Fight of the Year” candidate unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez at UFC 166 in October. That fight was the first win in the UFC for “El Niño,” who debuted in the promotion with a title fight loss to then-champion Benson Henderson in April after coming over from Strikeforce as the champion on a seven-fight winning streak.
Nurmagomedov will be looking to keep his perfect record intact. The Russian finished the calendar year 3-0 with decision wins over Pat Healy and Abel Trujillo at UFC 165 and 160, respectively, and a knockout win over Thiago Tavares in January.
With the addition, the UFC 170 card now includes:
- Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann – for women’s bantamweight title
- Daniel Cormier vs. Rashad Evans
- Gilbert Melendez vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rustam Khabilov
- Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger
- Raphael Assuncao vs. Francisco Rivera
- Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker
(Pictured: Gilbert Melendez)