by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
“Ultimate Fighter” season eight winner Efrain Escudero is expected to return to action against lightweight prospect Jeremy Stephens at a yet to be announced Ultimate Fight Night 18 on April 1. The event’s location has not been determined.

Bout agreements have not yet been signed, but sources close to both fighters revealed to MMAWeekly.com that they are expected put pen to paper in the coming days.

Escudero made waves as the dark horse of the recent reality season, defeating Ido Pariente, Shane Nelson, and Junie Browning to meet Phillip Nover in the show’s finale on Dec. 13. The 22-year-old native Mexican used his wrestling base to dominate Nover en route to a unanimous decision victory, earning him The Ultimate Fighter title. Prior to the show, Escudero was 10-0 in professional competition, fighting mostly for the Arizona-based Rage in the Cage promotion.

Stephens, 22, last turned heads with a bonus-winning knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 91. The Des Moines native has gone 4-2 in UFC competition, with an overall record of 16-3.