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‘Rumble’ vs Bader Set for UFC on FOX in January

Anthony Johnson
Photo Courtesy of AP

Two of the top UFC light heavyweight title contenders will meet at a UFC on FOX card in Newark, New Jersey.

First-ranked Anthony “Rumble” Johnson faces off against third-ranked Ryan “Darth” Bader in the main event on FOX on Jan. 30, per UFC Tonight Wednesday afternoon. An unofficial title eliminator, the winner of this bout could make a strong case for a title shot after champion Daniel Cormier and returning ex-champ Jon Jones meet for a second time sometime in 2016.

Come fight night, Johnson will be about six months removed from a knockout victory over fellow slugger Jimi Manuwa. It was the first win for “Rumble” since he fell short of claiming the vacant 205-pound crown against Cormier at UFC 187 in May. Prior to that, he’d racked up nine consecutive victories, including a first-round TKO over two-time title contender Alexander Gustafsson in January.

Bader enters the bout having won five straight, including victories over former titleholder “Suga” Rashad Evans, current Bellator title contender Phil Davis and prospect Ovince Saint Preux. The Power MMA Team standout hasn’t tasted defeat since suffering a first-round KO to Glover Teixeira in September 2013. Bader was expected to be the first man to challenge Cormier for his throne, but was passed up in favor of Gustafsson at UFC 192.

Also featured on the card is a welterweight matchup between former Strikeforce 170-pound champion Tarec Saffiedine and Jake Ellenberger. ¬†Saffiedine is 1-1 since transitioning to the UFC, dropping a third-round TKO to top-ranked Rory MacDonald last October. He’s been dealing with a groin injury since. Once seen as a top prospect in the UFC’s welterweight division, Ellenberger is just 1-4 in his last five appearances.

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