UFC president Dana White, along with Anthony and Sergio Pettis, were on a promotional trip to Puerto Rico on Wednesday where White made the announcement during a press conference, according to Puerto Rican newspaper Primera Hora reporter Raul Alzaga.
— Raul Alzaga (@RaulAlzaga) March 26, 2014
The event is likely to take place on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas, and would probably be designated UFC 182 as UFC 181 is already slated for Dec. 6 in Montreal.
Pettis has been sidelined recuperating from surgery in early December to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament. Doctors expect him to be out of action for six to eight months from the time of the surgery.
Pettis had been targeting a summer return to the Octagon, but that was before the UFC re-signed Gilbert Melendez. When that happened, the promotion padded the time for Pettis’ return by making him and Melendez the coaches for season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter with a fight on tap after the series airs on television.
TUF 20 airs in the fall/winter months on Fox Sports 1, which aligns perfectly for their fight to land on the UFC’s annual year-end event.
By the time they fight, it will have been nearly a year and a half since Pettis last fought, when he won the lightweight belt from Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August.
Melendez, however, won’t have much of a jump on him, since he last fought in October at UFC 166, when he defeated Diego Sanchez.