Gian Villante will fight as close to home as the laws of New York State will permit.
Villante, from Levittown, will fight Ovince St. Preux at UFC 159 on April 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Newsday has learned. Both fighters, formerly of Strikeforce, have verbally agreed to the bout. The fight will most likely air on the FX prelims portion of the card.
In the main event, Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen, both of whom are coaches on Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter." Also on the card is Wantagh's Al Iaquinta, who fights Joe Proctor.
Villante (10-3, 3-2 Strikeforce) hasn't fought since last May when he won a unanimous decision against Derrick Mehman. The former All-American wrestler at MacArthur High School and former All-American football player at Hofstra won his last three fights in Strikeforce after dropping the first two. The 27-year-old Villante, who trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy with Keith Trimble, was the Ring of Combat champion at both heavyweight and light heavyweight before signing with Strikeforce at the beginning on 2011.
St. Preux (12-5, 5-1) fought once in 2012, a third-round TKO of T.J. Cook last August. Before that, he lost to former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi by decision in December 2011.
The UFC absorbed a good portion of the fighters under contract to Strikeforce when it held its last card on Jan. 11. Zuffa LLC is the parent company for both MMA promotions.