The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s return to Orlando continues to grow.
Tuesday, it was revealed that UFC on Fox 28, scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Amway Center in “The Theme Park Capital of the World,” would feature a pair of new contests: former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao will face rising contender Brian Kelleher, while Sam Alvey will step up to light heavyweight to challenge rising Polish prospect Marcin Prachnio.
The promotion first revealed the bookings to the Orlando Sentinel.
The UFC also confirmed a previously reported welterweight bout between Max Griffin and Mike Perry.
Barao, 30, has struggled mightily since losing the UFC bantamweight title to T.J. Dillashaw in May 2014. Since his dethroning, the Brazilian has gone 2-3 under UFC employ. At UFC 214 in July, Barao sought to drop back down to 135 pounds for a fight with Aljamain Sterling before the California State Athletic Commission ruled that the fight would instead be contested at a a 140-pound catchweight bout due to Barao having previous weight-cutting issues. Barao lost the bout via unanimous decision.
Kelleher, a former Ring of Combat bantamweight champion, has quickly posted a 2-1 mark in the UFC. In his promotional debut, “Boom” surprised Brazilian veteran Iuri Alcantara in his native Brazil at UFC 212, choking him out in less than two minutes. After an armbar loss to Marlon Vera last July, Kelleher bounced back with a third-round stoppage of Damian Stasiak in October.
The 31-year-old Alvey was 5-1 over his previous six in the Octagon, but stepped in on short notice to meet debuting Ramazan Emeev at UFC Fight Night 118 in October, dropping a unanimous decision. This will be “Smilin’ Sam’s” first 205-pound contest under UFC contract.
Prachnio has put together a 13-2 mark as a professional, most recently competing for One Championship. The 29-year-old Pole has won eight in a row, with six of those victories coming by first-round stoppage.