A trio of top-drawer bouts has been confirmed for the showpiece event of International Fight Week in July.
UFC 213 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday July 8 as the main draw of the promotion’s annual week-long festivities in Sin City.
And two fan favourites will do battle in one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes of the year to date, with former UFC welterweight champion of the world Robbie Lawler set to make his octagon return against perennial crowd favourite Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
Lawler hasn’t competed since he was dethroned by Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 last July, while Cerrone is also looking to bounce back from defeat after suffering a TKO loss to Jorge Masvidal in Denver in January.
Also confirmed for the event is a battle of former heavyweight world champions as former UFC champ Fabricio Werdum takes on former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem in a trilogy fight.
Werdum took the spoils when the pair first met, submitting ‘The Reem’ at the opening round of the 2006 PRIDE open-weight Grand Prix tournament. But the Dutchman got his revenge five years later when he outpointed the Brazilian in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix quarter-finals.
Now the pair will do battle for a third time with a shot at the UFC heavyweight title almost certainly awaiting the winner.
The third bout confirmed for UFC 213 will see one of the UFC’s longest-serving lightweights take on a former world champion as Jim Miller takes on Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis.
Miller is experiencing a career renaissance, thanks to victories over Takanori Gomi, Joe Lauzon and Thiago Alves, but was edged out by majority decision against fellow contender Dustin Poirier last time out.
He’ll look to bounce back into the win column with a huge win over former undisputed UFC champ Pettis, who makes his return to the lightweight division after missing weight for his interim featherweight title bout with Max Holloway – a bout he went on to lose by third-round TKO.
The three bouts will join a growing fight card for the July 8 show, which will feature the grudge match for the UFC bantamweight title between former teammates and rival coaches in The Ultimate Fighter, Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw.
A middleweight bout between Thiago Santos and Gerald Meerschaert has also been reported for the event.