Gilbert Melendez will drop to 145 pounds and square off against Jeremy Stephens at UFC 215.
The Las Vegas-based promotion confirmed the pairing on Thursday. UFC 215 is set for Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Sept. 9 and also features a heavyweight showdown pitting Francis Ngannou against Junior dos Santos. A headliner for the card has not been announced.
A former Strikeforce lightweight titlist, Melendez has dropped his last three in the Octagon, falling to Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis in succession. “El Nino” is 1-4 with the Las Vegas-based promotion overall, earning his lone victory in a memorable brawl against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166. Melendez is 22-6 since beginning his pro career in 2002 and owns notable wins over the likes of Josh Thomson (twice), Jorge Masvidal, Tatsuya Kawajiri (twice), Shinya Aoki and Clay Guida, to name a few.
Stephens, who also previously competed in the lightweight division, will look to halt a two-fight skid. “Lil Heathen” lost a unanimous decision against Frankie Edgar at UFC 205 before dropping a split verdict to Renato Carneiro in his most recent outing at UFC on Fox 24. Stephens is 5-5 in the Octagon since making the move to 145 pounds.