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Rivera vs. Moraes targeted as UFC Utica headliner

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A pivotal bantamweight tilt is headed to New York in June.

Two bantamweight contenders will look to earn a title shot over the course of five rounds this spring.

Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes are expected to finally square off in a June UFC Fight Night main event in Utica, New York. MMAFighting.com reported the news Friday. Per the report, contracts have not yet been signed, but the bout will be made official soon.

Rivera needed an opponent after John Lineker pulled out of UFC 219 last December, and Moraes briefly stepped up. The Brazilian initially said he was open to a short-notice bout on his terms, but Rivera later said Moraes declined the matchup at 145 pounds. Ultimately, the bout did not come to fruition and Rivera was pulled from the pay-per-view card.

Rivera (21-1) last defeated Thomas Almeida via decision at UFC on FOX 25 last July. The New Jersey native is 5-0 in the UFC and has not lost since his second professional fight. Rivera also holds a notable win over former WEC champ Urijah Faber.

Moraes (20-5-1) is riding a two-fight winning streak, with a brutal knockout of Aljamain Sterling last December and a close decision over John Dodson last November. The former WSOF bantamweight titleholder debuted in the UFC last spring and fell short to Raphael Assuncao.

UFC Fight Night Utica takes place at Adirondack Bank Center on Friday, June 1st. The main card is expected to air on Fox Sports 1.


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