Featherweights booked for May 26 card at MGM Grand
UFC officials announced the matchup, saying verbal agreements are in place for the bout. Additionally, sources close to Elkins’ camp told HeavyMMA on Thursday that the fighter has signed his deal for the fight. The fight will be part of the promotion’s annual Memorial Day weekend pay-per-view in Las Vegas, which will take place May 26 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Though not officially announced by the UFC, the targeted main event of the card is a heavyweight title fight between champion Junior dos Santos and top contender Alistair Overeem. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta recently said on his Twitter feed that event was the plan for dos Santos’ first defense of the belt he took from Cain Velasquez in November. Overeem, the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, beat former UFC champ Brock Lesnar in December to become the No. 1 contender.
Brandao (14-7, 1-0 UFC) blitzed through the featherweight tournament on Season 14 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” winning all three of his fights in the house by first-round knockout to reach the live finale. And once there, the Brazilian did not disappoint – despite a couple bumps in the road. Dennis Bermudez had Brandao knocked down and rocked in the first round, but Brandao survived and locked in a fight-ending armbar that earned him both Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses.
Brandao, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who trains at the renowned Greg Jackson camp in Albuquerque, N.M., has been compared to fellow Brazilian featherweight Jose Aldo, the UFC’s 145-pound champion.
Elkins (13-2, 3-1 UFC) is 2-0 in the UFC since dropping from lightweight to featherweight after his last loss, a 41-second submission setback against Charles Oliveira in August 2010. But Elkins returned last June at featherweight to upset Michihiro Omigawa by unanimous decision at UFC 131 and followed that up with another upset win, outpointing Tiequan Zhang with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 at UFC 136 in October. The Indiana-based fighter trains with fellow UFC fighters Eddie Wineland and Keith Wisniewski and also has done recent jiu-jitsu work with Miguel Torres.
Officials did not announce the placement of the Brandao-Elkins fight on the show. The main card will air on pay-per-view, and the prelims are expected to be broadcast on the FX cable channel. Other fights already announced for the card include a middleweight fight between Jason “Mayhem” Miller and C.B. Dollaway; a lightweight fight between Evan Dunham and Edson Barboza; a heavyweight clash between Shane del Rosario and Gabriel Gonzaga; and a welterweight bout between Dan Hardy and Duane Ludwig.