The March 21st UFC Fight Night 62 card in Rio de Janeiro was looking pretty great even with only a couple of fights announced. A battle of contenders on top, and some guaranteed violence in addition that. Well, you can add two more to that list and they're quite impressive too.
The first bout is a bit odd, but represents a major step up in competition for one Brazilian fighter. Former Strikeforce champ and perennial contender Josh Thomson (20-7, 1 NC, 3-3 UFC) faces off with Gilbert Burns (9-0, 2-0 UFC). Thomson has dropped two fights in a row, but both were pretty controversial decisions that could have gone his way. Burns came into the UFC on short notice and won a welterweight bout, then returned to lightweight to submit Christos Giagos in October.
The other bout is one that has been rumored for a little while. Last month, touted prospect Ryan LaFlare (11-0, 4-0 UFC) stated that he'd love to fight veteran Demian Maia (19-6, 13-6 UFC). Today, MMA Fighting confirmed that verbal agreements were in place.
LaFlare last fought in April where he took a decision win over John Howard. He was supposed to face off with fellow prospect Gunnar Nelson in the summer but was forced off that card with an injury. Maia beat Alexander Yakovlev in May to break a two fight losing streak.
Here's a look at the current card:
Urijah Faber vs. Raphael Assuncao
Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Burns
Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare
Ben Saunders vs. Erick Silva