It appears Lavar Johnson and Brendan Schaub will square off after all.
Originally slated to meet earlier this month at UFC on Fox 5, the heavyweights saw that booking scrapped after Johnson withdrew from the bout due to injury. Instead, Schaub and Johnson will now do battle at UFC 157, as will lightweights Michael Chiesa and Anton Kuivanen. Promotion officials announced the pairings on Wednesday, confirming that verbal agreements are in place for both bouts.
UFC 157 takes place Feb. 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title fight between newly-christened champion Ronda Rousey and former Strikeforce title challenger Liz Carmouche. In addition to the UFC’s inaugural women’s bout, the evening’s main draw will also see former two-division Pride champion Dan Henderson lock horns with onetime UFC king Lyoto Machida in a light heavyweight co-headliner.
Johnson, 35, saw a two-fight winning streak snapped by Stefan Struve this past May, submitting to a first-round armbar at UFC 146. That setback followed a 2-0 start to Johnson’s UFC career, as “Big” recorded knockouts over Joey Beltran and Pat Barry earlier this year.
Six years younger than his foe, Schaub sustained back-to-back defeats in his most recent in-cage appearances, falling by knockout to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira last year before suffering the same fate courtesy of former IFL standout Ben Rothwell this past April at UFC 145.
The winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15, Chiesa made his official UFC debut at the show’s live season finale, submitting fellow finalist Al Iaquinta with a rear-naked choke on June 1. Known as a grappler, Chiesa has yet to taste defeat as a pro, earning seven straight wins prior to joining the cast of “TUF 15.”
Kuivanen, 28, rode a nine-fight winning streak into his February Octagon debut, only to be outpointed by Justin Salas at UFC on Fuel TV 1. The Finnish fighter rebounded with a victory in his last outing, however, taking a split verdict from Canadian competitor Mitch Clarke at UFC 149 on July 21.