Anthony Pettis vs. Edson Barboza Fight Announced for UFC 197

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2016

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 17:  Anthony Pettis sits in his corner after facing Eddie Alvarez in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside TD Garden on January 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis will take on Brazil's Edson Barboza at UFC 197 on April 23.

Per Thomas Gerbasi of the UFC's official website, the MGM Grand Garden Arena clash was confirmed on Wednesday and will see "two of the best strikers in mixed martial arts" go head-to-head.

The American Pettis lost his lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos last March ahead of a January split-decision defeat to Eddie Alvarez, while Barboza will enter the Octagon again having lost to Tony Ferguson last time out in December.

Showtime had never previously lost two fights in a row—indeed the 29-year-old had only ever lost twice before the Dos Anjos defeat—and he will be desperate to avoid a third loss against Barboza as he attempts to get back into title contention.

His 30-year-old opponent is enduring a period of slight inconsistency having gone 3-3 in his last six fights, but Barboza has proved in the past that he will be no pushover.

It is likely to be a blockbuster occasion as both fighters are powerful, effective strikers who regularly produce exciting fights.

Per UFC's Dave Sholler, there had been significant clamour for the pair to come together before the fight was announced:

UFC 197 will also see the return to action of Jon Jones, who takes on light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a bid to reclaim his title.