Joe Riggs is headed back to the UFC. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Winning Bellator MMA’s ill-fated “Fight Master” show didn’t earn Joe Riggs another bout in the promotion, but perhaps it played a role in the Arizona native signing with the UFC.
Riggs will meet Paulo Thiago on Sept. 13 at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil at UFC Fight Night "Bigfoot vs. Arlovski". UFC officials confirmed the pairing with Sherdog.com following a report from Combate.com. Riggs replaces Mike Rhodes, who withdrew from the bout due to injury.
A UFC, Bellator, WEC, and Strikeforce veteran, “Diesel” will return to the Octagon for the first time since losing via technical knockout in the first round to Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 7. With over 50 fights in his professional career, it’s easy to forget Riggs is only 31 years old.
Following a strong showing under the tutelage of Greg Jackson on the first and only season of “Fight Master,” Riggs went on to beat Mike Bronzoulis by decision in the show’s final at Bellator 106. Sherdog.com confirmed with Bellator officials that Riggs was released by the promotion.
Thiago will be returning to the Octagon following a stint as a police officer during the World Cup. His last outing was a decision loss to Gasan Umalatov at “The Ultimate Fighter 3” finale, dropping his record in his last eight UFC outings to 2-6. Thiago will be competing in his fourth consecutive card held on Brazilian soil.