The UFC’s Fight Night card scheduled for Dec. 19 in Las Vegas may have lost its main event today when it was announced that Leon Edwards had tested positive for COVID-19 and would no longer be able to fight Khamzat Chimaev, but that also opened up a spot for another fight to be added to the card.
And according to a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, that spot will be filled by a welterweight matchup between former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and Alex Morono. Per Okamoto, the two haven’t signed contracts yet, although both of them have verbally agreed to the bout.
The 33-year-old Anthony Pettis, who has fought at both lightweight and welterweight in recent years, is coming off of a victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 249 this past May. Prior to that, he had lost back-to-back fights against Nate Diaz and Carlos Diego Ferreira after brutally knocking out Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in 2019.
According to Pettis, he’s actually been looking for a fight and feels as if he’s rejuvenated at this stage of his career.
“I was actually trying to get a fight for a while now,” Pettis told ESPN. “My mindset has been so sharp. I’ve gone back to being a student of the game and I feel myself moving over this plateau. I feel like I was plateaued for a while and it was just never-ending, but last month I went to Colombia and got a stem-cell injection and I’ve been working with a sports psychiatrist. I have these tools in my mental game and I’m eager to put them to use. I’m making real progress as a martial artist and it’s felt so good to reinvent myself.”
The 30-year-old Morono, meanwhile, is 18-6-1 overall and is 4-1 in his last five fights. During that stretch, he’s earned victories over the likes of Song Kenan, Zak Ottow, Max Griffin, and Rhys McKee with his only loss coming against Khaos Williams.
Despite losing its main event, the UFC’s Dec. 19 card is still incredibly deep. In the new headliner, for example, “Wonderboy” Thompson will take on rising welterweight contender Geoff Neal. In addition, Marlon Moraes will take on Rob Font and Jose Aldo will meet Marlon “Chito” Vera among other exciting fights.