A middleweight matchup between rising contenders Robert Whittaker and Rafael Natal has been scheduled for UFC 197, according to The Daily Telegraph, who reported the news on Monday evening. UFC officials confirmed the bout on Monday night.
Since moving up to the middleweight division in 2014, Whittaker (15-4) has looked very impressive with three straight victories. In his last outing, he defeated Uriah Hall by unanimous decision at UFC 193, the UFC's debut event in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to that, he picked up back-to-back knockouts over Brad Tavares and Clint Hester.
Natal (21-6-1) bested "King" Kevin Casey by late-TKO at UFC on FOX 18 this past January. The Brazilian is currently riding a four-fight winning streak, which also includes decision victories over the aforementioned Hall and Chris Camozzi.
The official card placement for the bout is unknown at this time, but Whittaker vs. Natal will likely be featured on the pay-per-view main card.
UFC 197 takes place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 23. In the main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier squares off with former titleholder Jon Jones in a highly anticipated rematch.