UFC 182 has been put on the calendar of Ultimate Fighting Championships events and will be showcased January 3rd in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Expected to be the main event of the affair is the first defense of Anthony Pettis’s (17-2) UFC Lightweight Title against former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion and number 2 ranked UFC Lightweight, Gilbert Melendez (22-3).
The pair will butt-heads as coaches on TUF 20 before they tangle in the cage on the rumored January 3rd headliner.
Pettis is the last WEC 155 pound champion and since the buying of the promotion, he’s won 8 of his last 9 including winning his last 3 fights in the first round. In his last outing he won the UFC Lightweight title by submitting Benson Henderson via arm bar in a rematch of their Fight of the Year 2010 bout in WEC’s swan song, WEC 53.
Gilberts is the former Strikeforce Lightweight champion and upon the promotion folding, he came to the UFC and received an immediate title shot against then UFC Lightweight Champion, Benson Henderson. Gilbert lost the contest by way of a highly controversial split decision at UFC on Fox 7. He rebounded to beat former UFC Lightweight number 1 contender, Diego Sanchez at UFC 166 via unanimous decision.
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz (19-1) was never beaten for the title but a string of injuries have kept the “The Dominater” right next to Derrick Rose on the athletic sideline. Cruz has been inactive for 3 years but in his last piece of action he defeated current UFC Flyweight Champion, Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision at UFC on Versus 6.
Cruz has recently stated that he’s eyeing a return as quick as the end of August or early September.