A fight between No. 3 and No. 4 in the middleweight division has been added to an expected pay-per-view event in 2022.
John Morgan of MMA Junkie has reported that Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson have agreed to fight at UFC 270 on Jan. 22. The location and venue of the event has not been announced at this time.
Cannonier made his middleweight debut at UFC 230, where he earned a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus for his second-round technical knockout of David Branch. The ‘Killa Gorilla’ went on to stop Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson at UFC 237 and UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Cannonier in back-to-back appearances in the Octagon. Those wins saw Cannonier thrust into the conversation of title contention and he was given another opportunity to solidify his status as would-be contender.
Cannonier met Robert Whittaker — a former middleweight champion — in the co-main event of UFC 254 this past October. The 37-year-old was defeated by way of unanimous decision and suffered a broken arm that required two surgeries and kept him on the sidelines for almost a year. Cannonier returned to the win column last month with a unanimous decision win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 34 and asked to fight again as soon as possible. He got his wish, and has been given the aforementioned Brunson.
Brunson has been on a tear in recent outings. The longtime divisional staple rebounded from losses to Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Israel Adesanya with five consecutive wins over notable names such as Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan. Brunson added Kevin Holland and Darren Till to his resume earlier this year and then called for a rematch against Adesanya, but that will now have to wait.
No other fights beside a bout between Greg Hardy and Aleksei Oleinik have been added to UFC 270 yet, but more should be announced in the coming weeks.