MMAjunkie.com learned of the match up from sources close to the event earlier this week.
Baroni debuted in the UFC back in 2001 with a unanimous decision victory, followed by knockouts in two of his next three outings under the UFC banner. However, Baroni’s luck turned after that, as he dropped four straight fights, including one loss to Matt Lindland, one to Pete Sell, and two consecutive losses to Evan Tanner. Baroni was released, only to return several years later with more disappointing results. In his return to the promotion, Baroni was completely outclassed by “Ultimate Fighter” winner Amir Sadollah at UFC 106.
Baroni was originally slated to face John Salter at UFC 118, but an injury forced him out of the contest. His fight with Tavares will come nearly 14 months after the Sadollah loss from November of 2009.
Unlike the 25-fight veteran of the sport, Tavares is yet to lose in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, debuting with a unanimous decision victory at “The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale”. Tavares earned the spot against Seth Baczynski at the finale after an impressive run on the reality show, making it to the semi-finals before finally being eliminated from the tournament. The middleweight prospect is still a perfect 5-0 in the sport, having earned four of those victories via stoppage.
The middleweight bout is set for UFC 125 this January at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card is expected to a feature a lightweight championship main event between title-holder Frankie Edgar and undefeated top contender Gray Maynard. Other notable fighters, such as former heavyweight top contender Shane Carwin, as well as middleweights Brian Stann and Chris Leben, are expected to make the January 1 card.