As with other recent installments of the event series, UFC on FOX 7 will get a loaded lineup, including a title fight and a major heavyweight bout.
In his first fight since the closing of his former home, final Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (21-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will challenge UFC titleholder Benson Henderson (18-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC).
Additionally, Strikeforce import Daniel Cormier (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet fellow heavyweight and rival Frank Mir (16-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC).
) confirmed the plans with event sources. Yahoo! Sports initially reported them, and UFC officials formally announced them soon after.
UFC on FOX 7 takes place April 20 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The main card airs on FOX following prelims on FX and Facebook.
As MMAjunkie.com recently reported, Henderson recently signed a new longterm UFC contract and was targeting a matchup with Melendez.
Since his time in the WEC, where he once held the lightweight title, Henderson has posted a 6-0 mark in the UFC with six decision wins. He won the title in early 2012 with a victory over then-champ Frankie Edgar, and then defended it in an immediate rematch with Edgar. Then, back in December in UFC on FOX 5's headliner, he posted a victory over top contender Nate Diaz.
Melendez, meanwhile, is on a seven-fight win streak of his own. The longtime Strikeforce titleholder was slated to fight Pat Healy this past weekend at Strikeforce's final show, but he was forced off the card with a shoulder injury. His recent wins have come over top non-UFC lightweights, including Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Jorge Masvidal and Josh Thomson.
Cormier, meanwhile, was expected to fight Frank Mir at a Strikeforce event in November that later was canceled. So this past weekend, Cormier instead fought and easily handled 20-to-1 underdog Dion Staring. It marked the Strikeforce world grand-prix winner and standout amateur wrestler's 11th straight victory, which also included Strikeforce wins over Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and Josh Barnett. Although Cormier has suggested he's likely to move down to light heavyweight this year, he recently said he first wanted to fight Mir.
Mir, a former UFC champion, hasn't fought since a failed bid to take Junior dos Santos' heavyweight belt this past May. prior to the TKO loss, the jiu-jitsu ace had posted a string of wins over notables Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The "Big Nog" victory, which saw Mir break his opponent's arm, recently netted him 2012 World MMA Awards for best submission and best comeback.