We already have confirmation of Anthony Johnson's return to the UFC against Phil Davis at UFC 172, but we've also got three other bouts to look forward to as the Octagon heads to Baltimore for the first time. The biggest (both in weight class and in the context of title implications) is a middleweight clash between Luke Rockhold and Tim Boetsch.
Rockhold Looks to Tame The Barbarian at UFC 172 - http://t.co/lgNGb6P1Gi @UFC #UFC #UFC172 #MMA @LukeRockhold @TimBoetsch— Thomas Gerbasi (@tgerbasi) February 4, 2014
Rockhold (11-2) was famously stopped by Vitor Belfort in his UFC debut, but in a main event spot against Costa Philippou the former Strikeforce champ delivered a brutal set of body kicks to score a 1st round TKO. Boetsch (17-6) was supposed to face Rockhold at UFC 166 before Rockhold pulled out with an injury, and instead fought C.B. Dollaway, winning a controversial split decision. That snapped his two-fight losing streak but otherwise wasn't a good showing by "The Barbarian". Boetsch won his first 4 fights at middleweight, the most memorable of which was a comeback KO of Yushin Okami in Japan back in 2012.
Next up in the flyweight division is recent title challenger Joseph Benavidez against Tim Elliott:
#2 ranked flyweight @JoeJitsu Benavidez takes on #8 Tim @TElliott125 on April 26th at UFC 172 in Baltimore - tix on sale Friday— UFC News (@UFCNews) February 3, 2014
Benavidez (19-4) earned a rematch with champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Fox 9 through wins over Ian McCall, Darren Uyenoyama, and Jussier Formiga. In a stunning and unexpected result, Benavidez was KO'd by Johnson in the 1st round, marking his first ever stoppage defeat. Elliott (10-4-1) dropped his UFC debut to John Dodson but picked up impressive wins over Jared Papazian and Louis Gaudinot. The 27-year-old was unable to make it three straight at UFC 167, as Ali Bagautinov won a unanimous decision over him.
Lastly, women's bantamweights Jessamyn Duke and Bethe Correia meet on a presumed preliminary card match-up.
Undefeated bantamweights @jessamynduke and @bethecorreia will meet in the Octagon April 26 at #UFC172 in Baltimore.— UFC News (@UFCNews) February 3, 2014
Correia (7-0) effectively sent Julie Kedzie into retirement with a unanimous decision triumph at UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia. It kept the Brazilian undefeated in her professional career. Duke (3-0, 1 NC) won her UFC debut in the TUF 18 Finale by beating Peggy Morgan by decision. She earned Fight of the Season honors on the show with her back-and-forth battle with Raquel Pennington, who was able to best her on the judges' scorecards.
UFC 172 features a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira. Jake Ellenberger also meets Tarec Saffiedine, while Max Holloway and Andre Fili battle in what should be a great action-packed featherweight affair.
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