Phan fights for third time since August
Even before his lightweight fight at UFC 137 last month, Cerrone was calling Phan out, saying he would gladly drop to featherweight to teach him a lesson for perceived insults of Cerrone’s team at the Greg Jackson camp in Albuquerque. The budding rivalry came after Phan was critical of the style of Cerrone best friend and housemate Leonard Garcia following a win over him at UFC 136.
But that fight will have to wait. Cerrone is booked for a fight with Nate Diaz on Dec. 30 at UFC 141, the promotion’s year-end card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. And now Phan has made his way onto the card to face Jimy Hettes. The UFC announced the fight early Wednesday, saying verbal agreements are in place for the bout.
Phan (17-9, 1-2 UFC) will fight for the third time in less than five months. In August, he dropped a unanimous decision to former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown. But he followed that up with a unanimous decision win over Garcia in Houston, getting a measure of revenge from a controversial split decision loss in their first meeting at the TUF 12 Finale last December. Both Phan-Garcia bouts were awarded Fight of the Night bonuses.
Hettes (9-0, 1-0 UFC) won his UFC debut at UFC on Versus 5 in Milwaukee with a rear naked choke win over Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres. Ironically, Hettes replaced an injured Garcia in that fight. All nine of the Pennsylvania natives wins have come by submission.
UFC 141 features a main event heavyweight No. 1 contenders bout between former UFC champion Brock Lesnar and former Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem, who is making his UFC debut. The winner will get the first crack at the title Junior dos Santos took from Cain Velasquez on Saturday at the UFC on Fox debut. In addition, the co-main event features a lightweight contenders bout between the streaking Cerrone, who has won six straight, and Diaz. And wrestlers Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks will meet in a welterweight bout.