Matheus Nicolau’s suspension is not over yet, but he already has a date for his return to the Octagon.
Nicolau is set to take on Louis Smolka in a flyweight bout at UFC 219, a pay-per-view event scheduled for Dec. 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the promotion announced.
Nicolau (12-1-1) tested positive for anastrozole, a prohibited substance in the category of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators, and was pulled from a fight with Yuta Sasaki at UFC Fight Night 100 in Sao Paulo. His one-year suspension ends on Oct. 13.
The Brazilian fighter fought as a bantamweight on the fourth edition of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil in 2015, and beat Bruno Mesquita via third-round submission in his UFC debut at 135 pounds. Nicolau dropped to flyweight the following year, defeating John Moraga by split decision.
Smolka (11-4) has his back against the wall after losing three straight against Tim Elliott, Ray Borg and Brandon Moreno. The Hawaiian talent won five of his six first UFC bouts, including victories over the likes of Ben Nguyen, Paddy Holohan and Neil Seery.
The UFC has yet to announce the main event for its final card of the year. The two other match-ups already official for the show are Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera and Carla Esparza vs. Cynthia Calvillo.