by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com (additional reporting by Ken Pishna)
Heavyweights Junior Dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga are expected to meet at UFC 108 on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas.
Multiple sources on Monday told MMAWeekly.com that the fight has been agreed to and contracts are expected to be signed shortly. Fiveknuckles.com was first to report the pairing on Sunday. The bout has yet to be officially announced by the UFC.
Sources tell MMAWeekly.com that the match-up is expected to groom the next contender for the heavyweight title.
Dos Santos (10-1) last month emerged from a starmaking turn against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 103 in Dallas. The 25-year-old Brazilian battered Filipovic with a crisp striking attack that caused the former Pride champion to quit with three minutes left in the 15-minute bout. It was his second upset victory since taking to the Octagon at UFC 90, where he knocked out the highly touted Fabricio Werdum in the first round.
Gonzaga (15-4) is coming off a controversial victory over UFC newcomer Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 102. After an inadvertent low kick struck Tuchscherer in the groin, causing him to briefly lose consciousness, the bout’s continuance was placed in jeopardy. Tuchscherer was able to continue after the referee halted the bout, but was unable to stop Gonzaga’s relentless attack after the fight was restarted. He succumbed to punches midway through the first round.
The 30-year-old Gonzaga has oft stated a desire for a second shot at the heavyweight title after falling short to then-champion Randy Couture at UFC 74. His Octagon record stands at 7-3.