The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Tuesday officially announced its return to the East Coast. The promotion heads back to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on March 19 for UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans.
UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua squares off with former champion Rashad Evans in the main event.
“This is the light heavyweight title fight that everyone has been waiting to see,” UFC president Dana White said on Tuesday. “With the main event and the other fights we’re putting together, we’re bringing another awesome card to New Jersey and I’m excited to get back to the East Coast.”
New Jersey will also serve as the launching pad for former WEC champions Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland, who will square off in a bantamweight battle in a UFC 128 feature fight.
Rua (19-4) has been sidelined following knee surgery, but is coming off of back-to-back bouts with former champion Lyoto Machida. Shogun lost a controversial unanimous decision to Machida in their first bout, but left no doubts in the second, capturing the belt with a first-round knockout.
Evans (15-1-1), who lost the title to Machida in 2009, has put together wins over Top 10 fighters Thiago Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to earn his shot at reclaiming the belt.
Faber (24-4) makes his official UFC debut after having been the face of the WEC for several years. The Sacramento, Calif., based fighter dropped down to 135 pounds for his last fight where he made quick work of Takeya Mizugaki in his debut in the division.
He faces former WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland (18-6-1), who comes into the fight riding a four-fight win streak. Wineland has been extremely impressive lately picking up a TKO win over Will Campuzano, and then a KO slam finish of Ken Stone at WEC 53.