UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is expected to defend his 145-pound belt against once-beaten up-and-comer Erik Koch this summer at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta.
Koch’s name began to circulate as a potential opponent for Aldo last week after presumptive challenger Hatsu Hioki was booked for a June bout against Ricardo Lamas. Multiple outlets have this weekend confirmed the booking.
In March, it was announced that Aldo would headline UFC 149, which takes place at Scotiabank Saddledome and marks the Octagon’s first trip to Calgary. With last week’s major card shift, which saw Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen 2 moved from Rio de Janeiro to Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White suggested that Aldo’s next title defense could fill the vacant headlining slot on the Brazilian card. Now, it appears the UFC’s second-youngest champ is still set to visit the Great White North.
Aldo’s last bout in Canada saw him defend his UFC title for the first time in a grueling April 2011 decision against Mark Hominick. The 25-year-old pride of Nova Uniao has since retained his belt, and his position atop the featherweight rankings, with wins over former lightweight challenger Kenny Florian and previously unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes.
One of the young stars of Milwaukee’s Roufusport camp, Koch has won four straight outings and is a perfect 2-0 inside the Octagon. The lone blemish on his 13-1 record came in a March 2010 decision loss to Mendes. Since jumping from the WEC to the UFC, the 23-year-old Iowa native has scored a knockout of tough vet Raphael Assuncao and, most recently, a September decision over “The Ultimate Fighter 12” winner Jonathan Brookins.
High-profile bouts confirmed for UFC 149 include Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira versus Cheick Kongo and Thiago Alves versus Yoshihiro Akiyama.