Anthony Johnson is looking to start another winning streak. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Anthony Johnson will face Ryan Bader in the UFC on Fox 18 main event on Jan. 30 in Newark, N.J.
The light heavyweight headliner was revealed during “UFC Tonight” on Wednesday. The Fox-televised card will take place at Prudential Center and also includes a welterweight co-feature pitting Tarec Saffiedine against Jake Ellenberger. The Johnson-Bader booking only increases the likelihood that Jon Jones will face reigning 205-pound titlist Daniel Cormier in his Octagon return.
Johnson challenged for light heavyweight gold at UFC 187, where he submitted to a Cormier rear-naked choke in the third round of their May 23 bout. “Rumble” rebounded in his next outing, scoring a second-round knockout of Jimi Manuwa at UFC 191 on Sept. 5.
Bader, who has actively lobbied for a title shot in recent weeks, will need at least one more victory to reach his goal. The Power MMA Team representative enters the matchup on a five-fight winning streak, including triumphs over Rashad Evans, Phil Davis and Ovince St. Preux.
Saffiedine has been out of action since suffering a third-round technical knockout loss to Rory MacDonald UFC Fight Night event in October 2014. The Belgian welterweight debuted in the Octagon with a five-round verdict over Hyun Gyu Lim at UFC Fight Night in Singapore.
Ellenberger has lost four of his last five appearances within the Las Vegas-based promotion, with his only victory coming against Josh Koscheck at UFC 184. Most recently, “The Juggernaut” suffered a first-round knockout loss against Stephen Thompson at “The Ultimate Fighter 21” finale on July 12.
Five other bouts were also announced for UFC on Fox 18: George Sullivan vs. Alexander Yakovlev at welterweight; Olivier Aubin Mercier vs. Joaquim Silva at lightweight; Felipe Olivieri vs. Tony Martin at lightweight; Nina Ansaroff vs. Justine Kish at strawweight and Jim Hettes vs. Charles Rosa at featherweight.