The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut in Fresno, Calif., has gained a pair of bantamweight bouts.
Top-10 talent Bryan Caraway will return to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 123 to face former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champ Luke Sanders, while “Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” Season 1 veteran Alejandro Perez takes a jump up in competition, facing Brazilian veteran Iuri Alcantara. ESPN.com was first to report the Caraway-Sanders bout on Wednesday, while Brazil’s Combate had the initial scoop on Alcantara-Perez.
UFC Fight Night 123 is scheduled for Dec. 9 at Fresno’s Save Mart Center, headlined by a featherweight showdown between Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega. The main card is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1, with the preliminary undercard airing on UFC Fight Pass.
The 33-year-old Caraway has won four of his last five in the Octagon. “Kid Lightning” choked out both Johnny Bedford and Erik Perez before dropping a unanimous decision to Raphael Assuncao in October 2014, but rebounded with decision wins over Eddie Wineland and Aljamain Sterling. Following the Sterling victory, the Washington state native was lined up to face Jimmie Rivera at UFC Fight Night 103 this past January, but pulled out due to injury.
Sanders cruised through his first 11 bouts as a pro, finishing nine of those opponents within the distance and taking the RFA 135-pound title. After submitting Maximo Blanco in his UFC debut in a featherweight contest, “Cool Hand Luke” cut back down to bantamweight at UFC 209 in March, but wound up getting kneebarred by the aforementioned Iuri Alcantara in the second round of a bout he was dominating handily.
After his brilliant come-from-behind submission of Sanders, Alcantara was upset in his native Brazil at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro in June, succumbing to a guillotine choke from underdog Brian Kellher in less than two minutes. “Marajo” has posted a 9-5 (1 NC) record over his UFC tenure.
Since his “TUF: Latin America 1” stint, Perez has gone 4-1-1 in the Octagon. He was choked out in just 23 seconds by Patrick Williams at UFC 188 in his native Mexico in June 2015, but quickly bounced back with stoppages of Scott Jorgensen and Ian Entwistle. “Turbo” fought to a majority draw with Albert Morales 13 months ago, then got back into the win column in August by taking a split verdict over Andre Soukhamthath in Mexico City.