A bantamweight fight between Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Moraes (19-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)is set for UFC Fight Night 123, people with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie. The people requested anonymity because the UFC had yet to make an announcement.Sterling originally was slated to face Rani Yahya at the FS1-televised event Dec. 9 in Fresno, Calif., until Yahya was forced out because of injury. Moraes will be making a quick turnaround after picking up a split decision over John Dodson last week at UFC Fight Night 120.Sterling, No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, brings a two-fight winning streak to the cage after decisions over former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao and top Brazilian prospect Augusto Mendes. Six of his 14 career wins have come by way of submission, including four by rear-naked choke, though all were prior to his UFC run.Sterling had been hoping to land a fight with No. 5 Jimmie Rivera, who remains in need of a replacement opponent for UFC 219 after ex-champ Dominick Cruz withdrew because of injury. Moraes wanted the same and used his post-fight interview last week for an impassioned plea to step in and fight Rivera.
As it turns out, it’ll be Sterling and Moraes going at each other instead.
With the addition, UFC Fight Night 123 now includes:
- Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
- Marlon Moraes vs. Aljamain Sterling
- Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
- Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
- Eryk Anders vs. Markus Perez
- Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto
- Carls John de Tomas vs. Alex Perez
- Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
- Bryan Caraway vs. Luke Sanders
- Merab Dvalishvili vs. Frankie Saenz
- Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales
- Gabriel Benitez vs. Jason Knight