It looks though Raphael Assuncao’s road to a title shot will have to include a win over Urijah Faber, as according to a new report, the bantamweights have agreed to fight on March 21st.
The bout will reportedly headline a UFC Fight Night event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to a report from Globo’s Combate. The report says that verbal agreements are in place for the fight, but that the contracts have not been signed. There has been no announcement from the UFC regarding the fight.
Assuncao (23-4) is on the verge of a title shot, since he’s won seven straight fights and holds a decision win over champion TJ Dillashaw during that stretch. When Dominick Cruz went down with a knee injury recently, Assuncao may have locked up a rematch with Dillashaw, but he suffered a broken ankle while training.
The news might catch some people off guard, since Assuncao’s injury took place in late December, and this would mean he’s pretty much jumping right into a camp…and possibly not a very long one at that…
Faber (32-7) continues to hang around the top of the 135 division, as following his stoppage loss to Renan Barao last February, he’s defeated Alex Caceres and Francisco Rivera. Some had thought the UFC might look at booking Faber-Rivera II, since the fight ending submission came after the latter took a poke to the eye.
At any rate, from a rankings perspective, this bout certainly makes sense. Faber is currently ranked #3 and Assuncao is positioned at #4. The interesting thing is that if Dillashaw beats Barao for a second time on April 25th, and Faber beats Assuncao, perhaps an all Team Alpha Male championship fight could materialize. Assuming, of course, Cruz isn’t ready to go.
It should be noted that Faber submitted Assuncao back in 2010, when the two were competing in the WEC’s featherweight division.