Following a season long stint coaching on The Ultimate Fighter season 20, UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will put his belt on the line against top rated challenger Gilbert Melendez on December 6 in Las Vegas at an event currently set as UFC 181.
Pettis made the announcement on the MMA Hour on Monday with additional sources confirming the Dec 6 date to FOX Sports as well.
The fight will mark Pettis’ first title defense since winning the belt against Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August 2013. He was expected to return in early 2014, but an injury kept him sidelined and the UFC opted to put him in as a coach on the Ultimate Fighter further delaying his next bout.
Melendez will fight for the UFC lightweight title for the second time in only three UFC fights since coming to the promotion last year following his run as the Strikeforce lightweight champion. Melendez lost a close decision to Henderson in his previous title bout, but came back strong with a ‘Fight of the Year’ performance against Diego Sanchez last October at UFC 166.
Now Melendez will look to add the UFC lightweight title to his trophy case when he meets Pettis on Dec 6 at UFC 181.
The UFC has yet to make any formal announcements about the card on December 6, but it’s likely to take place in Las Vegas although nothing has been determined at this time.