Aldo vs. Lamas, Cruz returns to face Barao

Two HUGE title fights headline an incredible UFC 169.
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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.


UFC 169 will land in Newark, New Jersey on Feb 1, 2014 as part of the Super Bowl weekend festivities, and the show will now feature two title bouts including the long awaited return of bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

According to UFC officials by way of Newsday, UFC 169 will be co-headlined by title fights in both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions.

First up at 135 pounds, Dominick Cruz will finally return to the cage after more than two years away and two different surgeries to repair damage on his knee. Cruz has been out since October 2011 when he defeated Demetrious Johnson to defend the UFC bantamweight title, but prior to his last scheduled bout at UFC 148 in 2012 he blew out his knee and required full ACL replacement surgery.

Cruz's luck didn't get any better from there because while he was on the road to recovery, his knee rejected the cadaver ligament put in as a replacement and he had to undergo surgery again and start the whole process of rehabilitation over a second time.

Now with his knee back to full health, Cruz will return to face interim champion Renan Barao, who won the gold in his absence and has since defended the title on two occasions.

The other fight confirmed on Tuesday is the featherweight title fight pitting champion Jose Aldo against Ricardo Lamas. The two fighters have been rumored for a bout in February for a few weeks now, but only on Tuesday did it become official.

UFC 169 takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014.

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