The UFC’s year-end card is only about halfway completed,
yet it’s fair to say it’s loaded with talent. On
Thursday, two more additions were made to the Dec. 28 show,
including one that features a highly ranked featherweight.
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao has been agreed upon for UFC
168, along with a matchup between recent Ultimate Fighter star Uriah Hall and slugger
Poirier, who is currently No. 5 in the UFC rankings, has won two
of his last three, including a dominant win over Erik Koch at UFC
164 last month. He’s 14-3 overall.
His opponent Brandao (18-8) won TUF season 14, and is currently
enjoying a three-fight win streak, with victories over Daniel
Pineda, Pablo Garza and Joey Gambino.
Meanwhile, the Hall-Leben bout may feature two fighters facing
their last opportunity to hold on to a UFC roster spot.
Hall (7-4) burst on to the scene on TUF 17 with a pair of
memorable knockouts, but has struggled to find the same success
since, losing a pair of lackluster split-decisions to Kelvin
Gastelum and John Howard, respectively.
UFC president Dana White has been publicly critical of Hall, but
said on Thursday that Hall told him the comments have lit a fire
underneath him. He’s going to need it to beat Leben (22-10),
a longtime UFC staple who has hit hard times, losing three straight
including a recent split-decision to Andrew Craig. White believes a
loss may suggest that it’s time for “the
Crippler” to hang up his gloves. He’s been in the UFC
since 2005, debuting as a member of the original cast of TUF.