“UFC Tonight” returned on Wednesday and brought with it a heavy dose of news, including confirmation on several bouts previously reported on FightLine.
Along with the fight announcements, information on former champion Rashad Evans, a possible lightweight No. 1 contender match and Stefan Struve switching camps were all talked about.
Evans, who suffered a knee injury last year ahead of a planned meeting with Daniel Cormier, is back on the sidelines after re-injuring his knee, according to Ariel Helwani.
“Around Christmastime his knee popped and the cadaver broke. He just had another ACL surgery to repair it. He’s looking at a recovery time of six to nine months. He says he’s not going out like this. He’s on the comeback trail.”
As for that possible 155-pound title-eliminator, Donald Cerrone and Khabib Nurmagomedov have “agreed to fight” at the Memorial Day weekend card in late-May, but nothing has been confirmed.
Struve, who lost to Alistair Overeem in his return following a serious heart issue, is moving to the Blackzilians camp to train.
“Struve has started training with the Blackzilians. Big Nog told me he wants to fight Struve next, but they haven’t confirmed the fight.”
Another challenger to Jon Jones has risen, and he is somebody the UFC light heavyweight champion is very familiar with.
Younger brother Chandler Jones is challenging “Bones” to a one-round match for charity. The Super Bowl winner of the New England Patriots recently told TMZ Sports about the challenge.
“Me and my brother used to fight all the time when we were young,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m pretty sure I can take him down now. I am way bigger than he is.”
Chandler Jones, a standout at Syracuse University before being drafted by the Patriots, is a starter on the defensive side of the ball. He stands 6-foot-5, an inch taller than Jon, and weighs 265 pounds – which is 60 more than the typical competition weight for the champion.
“It will be fun if we actually did a one-round match for charity,” Chandler said. “That would be fun. If I win, he would have to donate to the charity of my choice, and vice versa.”
While it would be hard enough to get the UFC on board with such an arrangement to one of its biggest stars, Chandler gaining clearance by the NFL and the Patriots would likely be even more difficult. New England is led by Bill Belichick, one of the more tight-lipped coaches in the league.
“I don’t know how my coach would feel about it,” he said. “I don’t think it would fly.”
From the Save Mart Center in Fresno, the main card airs on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET with a headline fight between former champion Alexander Shlemenko (51-9) and Melvin Manhoef (29-12-1).
Also, ex-Bellator titleholder Pat Curran (20-6) tries to get back into contention when he faces Daniel Weichel (34-8). The other televised fights feature Julia Budd (6-2) vs. Gabrielle Holloway (4-1) and Chris Honeycutt (5-0) taking on Clayton MacFarlane (4-0).
Check out the complete fight card below, along with a video preview:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV/9 p.m. ET)
Middleweight: Alexander Shlemenko vs. Melvin Manhoef
Featherweight: Pat Curran vs. Daniel Weichel
Women’s Featherweight: Julia Budd vs. Gabrielle Holloway
Welterweight: Chris Honeycutt vs. Clayton MacFarlane