Cruz faces Rivera; Esparza takes on Calvillo at UFC 219

Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has finally booked his next fight as he will face off with Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 in Las Vegas on December 30. He’ll take on the surging #3 Jimmie Rivera (21-1). He was forced to relinquish the belt following numerous injuries that ultimately culminated in Cruz competing just once over a 4.5-year span from October 2011 to January 2016.

Cruz has not been in the Octagon since he dropped the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision at UFC 207. His most recent victory was a unanimous decision victory over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

The UFC made the announcements via their Twitter accounts Wednesday night.

News arrived tonight that Cruz will take on rising No. 3-ranked Jimmie Rivera at December 30’s UFC 219 pay-per-view (PPV) event from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Former strawweight champion Carla Esparza defeated Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night Oklahoma City in June to get back on the winning track after a loss to Canadian Randa Markos at Fight Night Halifax earlier in the year.

The UFC has yet to announce what bout will be headlining the final card of the year. Since dropping the belt to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she has gone 2-1, with the loss being a split decision. After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. She has finished four of her six career opponents.

Calvillo (6-0) holds wins over Joanne Calderwood, Pearl Gonzalez and Amanda Cooper since signing with the UFC. Cruz opted to take time off since and was originally angling for a fight against the victor of November’s title fight between Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw.Cruz will have to get a win under his belt first, though.

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