The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday announced that it will return to Atlanta at Philips Arena on Saturday, April 21 with UFC 145.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones will defend his 205-pound crown in the night’s main event.
The event marks UFC’s first time back in the city since UFC 88 on Sept. 6, 2008, when nearly 15,000 fans packed Philips Arena to watch Rashad Evans knock out UFC legend Chuck Liddell.
“Fans in Atlanta have been tweeting me and telling me over and over again to bring the UFC back to their city,” said UFC president Dana White. “Well guess what Atlanta? The UFC is coming back to Atlanta with the sport’s fastest-rising star, Jon Jones, defending his light heavyweight title!”
The UFC’s release did not declare an opponent for Jones, but White, in an interview with UFC Tonight, stated that if Rashad Evans were to come out unscathed and victorious at UFC on Fox 2, he would get the shot.
“If Rashad Evans wins, and if he doesn’t get injured, he will fight Jon Jones,” said White. “He’s the guy who gets the shot. He’s been waiting a long time, and he’s the one who deserves it.”
He also added a back-up plan if Evans does not win or wins but comes away with too many bumps and bruises and is unable to compete in Atlanta.
Plan B is Dan Henderson.
“Should Rashad get hurt, then Dan Henderson will fight next,” he stated.
Of course, never say never. If Phil Davis puts on a tremendous performance and defeats Evans, there’s always the possibility that the UFC could shift gears and slide Davis into the spot, but it looks like Evans or Henderson will be the likely opponent.
Tickets for UFC 145 go on sale Friday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. ET.