The UFC has finalized a bantamweight matchup featuring a former world champion for their first PPV in March. Yesterday, the promotion finalized a bout between Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (12-5) and Julio Arce (18-6). The matchup will take place at UFC 285 on March 4th.
The fight was first reported by Eurosport NL. When you’re a middle of the road contender, you normally don’t get a chance at a former world champion coming off a loss. However, that’s exactly the spot that Julio Arce finds himself in.
Julio Arce is coming off a loss to Montel Jackson last month. Overall, he’s 3-4 in his last seven fights. However, he’s getting a big fight on a big stage in March. Now, he does have some solid wins when you look back at his career inside the octagon.
Some of his notable wins include Dan Ige, Julian Erosa, and Daniel Teymur. Now, he’s going to get a shot against a former champion and a win would be huge for his career.
Return of former UFC champion
It has been a steep fall from grace for Cody Garbrandt. Back in 2017, Garbrandt was on top of the world. He was undefeated and the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion. He had visions of moving up or down in weight to become a two-division champion.
Then, he ran into TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw knocked Garbrandt out in back-to-back fights which really brought the former champion back down to earth. After his title losses to Dillashaw, he took on Pedro Munhoz and was once again knocked out. From there, he took some time away.
He came back with a huge knockout over Raphael Assuncao and looked to be back on track. However, after a lopsided loss to Rob Font, Garbrandt decided to move to flyweight. He was knocked out in the first round against Kai Kara-France which prompted his move back up to bantamweight.
If you’re keeping track, the former UFC champ is now just 1-5 in his last six fights and he was knocked out in four of those fights. Garbrandt is just 31 so he’s still got plenty left in the tank from an age perspective, but the clock is ticking on his time as a top contender.