The UFC’s return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn continues to take shape, and it skews toward the lighter weight classes thus far.
Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis, both ranked in the top 13 in the UFC lightweight division, will face each other at UFC 223 on April 7, a UFC official said Wednesday. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported the pairing on Tuesday night.
Chiesa is coming off a submission loss to Kevin Lee last June. The ending of that fight came with some controversy. Lee had Chiesa in a rear-naked choke, and with 23 seconds left, referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout. Chiesa never tapped and never lost consciousness. As soon as Lee released the choke, Chiesa popped right up to his feet to argue his case. He appealed the decision to the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, which was denied.
Pettis lost to Dustin Poirier last November via third-round stoppage. It was Pettis’ fourth loss in his six fights after losing the UFC lightweight title to Rafael Dos Anjos in March 2015.
Five of the top ranked lightweight fighters are scheduled to compete at UFC 223, including interim champion Tony Ferguson against No. 2 Khabib Nurmagomedov. Wantagh’s Al Iaquinta, ranked No. 12, also is on the card.
Barclays Center hosted UFC 208 in February 2017, headlined by Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural women’s featherweight title. That fight card saw nine of the 10 fights end in decisions. UFC 223 will be the eighth event hosted by UFC in New York since the state legalized the sport in March 2016.
UFC 223 fight card so far
(fights officially announced by UFC)
Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (lightweight title)
Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (women’s strawweight title)
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder
Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis
Joe Lauzon vs. Chris Gruetzemacher