Ricardo Almeida. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Along with a previously rumored bout between Thales Leites and Goran Reljic, the Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced the addition of a middleweight bout between Ricardo Almeida and former IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich to the preliminary card of UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote.
Almeida returned to professional competition after a five-year hiatus and immediately reverted back to his winning ways, submitting last-minute replacement opponent Rob Yundt at UFC 81 in February. The victory earned Almeida a shot at rising contender Patrick Cote at UFC 86 last month, with a shot at current champion Anderson Silva on the line. However Almeida’s lack of cardio came into play and he ended up losing a split decision to the Canadian.
Horwich meanwhile, became the IFL’s first-ever middleweight champion after besting Brian Foster and Benji Radach in last year’s four-man tournament to win the vacant belt. Horwich was then defeated in his first title defense, dropping a unanimous decision to Ryan McGivern in February. Horwich most recently fought at the IFL’s last-ever event three months ago, winning a decision over Joey Guel.
Leites was originally scheduled to face skilled grappler Dean Lister at UFC Fight Night 15 on September 17th, but their bout was scrapped after Lister suffered a knee injury during a recent training session. He is expected to be out of action for 3-4 weeks. Reljic, who shocked many with his surprising win over Wilson Gouveia at UFC 84 in May, will now serve as a replacement opponent for Leites.
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