Lightweight hopefuls Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson will get the opportunity to take the next step towards title contention when they square off in the UFC Fight Night 61 co-main event on Feb. 22 in Brazil.
UFC officials announced the bout for the Porto Alegre based card on Sunday.
Barboza (15-2) has fought under the UFC banner since 2010, twice having runs at a title shot derailed. He had a streak of four wins upset by Jamie Varner’s return in 2012 and a three-fight run stopped by Donald Cerrone earlier this year.
Barboza has since put together back-to-back victories over Evan Dunham and Bobby Green. A victory over Johnson would put him within striking distance of a shot at current champion Anthony Pettis.
Johnson (15-8), The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 runner-up, has also been on the roster since 2010. He is currently in the midst of a three-fight winning streak for the second time during his Octagon tenure. Having reeled off victories over Joe Lauzon, Gleison Tibau, and Melvin Guillard, like Barboza, a win on Feb. 22 would vault him into title shot talk.
Rashad Evans and Glover Teixeira headline the UFC Fight Night 61 card in a five-round non-title bout.