by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
One trip to middleweight was enough for James Irvin. The California fighter, who made a miraculous cut to 185 pounds for his last fight, simply lost too much weight and will return to the light heavyweight division for his next fight at UFC on Versus 2 when he faces Croatian Igor Pokrajac.
The bout was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday by sources close to the fight.
Stints at heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight have been a part of James Irvin’s UFC career, but the biggest part of his success has come at 205 pounds, which is where he will return for his next bout.
In his last fight, Irvin made the weight for 185 pounds when he faced Alessio Sakara, but the tremendous strain to make the cut did him in and he simply wasn’t firing on all cylinders come fight time. He will look to get back on track in August in Salt Lake City.
A disciple of former Pride Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Pokrajac may very well be fighting for his UFC career when he steps in to oppose Irvin. He’s currently 0-2 in the Octagon and dropping three fights in a row is never a good place to be.
A successful career fighting overseas primarily in Croatia, Pokrajac has been training with Cro Cop over the last decade and hoped to translate his winning style when debuting in the UFC in 2009. Losses to Vladimir Matyushenko and James Te-Huna have obviously set him back, but he will look to rebound against Irvin.
The bout between Irvin and Pokrajac will be part of the untelevised preliminary portion of the show set for August 1 in Salt Lake City.