Surging lightweight contender George Sotiropoulos will meet Kurt Pellegrino in a featured matchup at UFC 116 “Lesnar vs. Carwin” on July 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Ten bouts are now official for the event, which will be headlined by a heavyweight title unification match between returning champion Brock Lesnar and undefeated interim titleholder Shane Carwin.
A semifinalist on Season 6 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Sotiropoulos will carry a six-fight winning streak into his latest appearance. The 32-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt last competed in February, when he defeated former title contender Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision at UFC 110. Unbeaten inside the Octagon, Sotiropoulos has finished five of his last six opponents.
Pellegrino has rattled off four consecutive victories since his 2008 submission loss to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Nate Diaz. Based in Point Pleasant, N.J., the 31-year-old submitted Fabricio Camoes with a rear-naked choke at UFC 111 two months ago. Victories against “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 winner Mac Danzig and former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Alberto Crane highlight Pellegrino’s resume.
Meanwhile, Daniel Roberts will take on Julio Paulino in an undercard battle between welterweights seeking their first UFC victory.
Based in Tulsa, Okla., Roberts made his promotional debut in March, when he replaced Anthony Johnson on short notice at UFC on Versus 1 in Broomfield, Colo. The 29-year-old was unceremoniously dismissed in a brutal first-round knockout at the hands of John Howard. Roberts was a collegiate All-American wrestler at Bacone College, and NAIA school in Muskogee, Okla. He has delivered seven of his nine victories by submission.
Paulino, a two-division Alaska Fighting Championship titleholder, lost a unanimous decision to the underrated Mike Pierce in his first UFC appearance two months ago. The 34-year-old has won seven of his last eight fights and owns notable victories against UFC veterans Terry Martin and Rob Yundt. In 20 career bouts, Paulino has never been finished.