UFC 189 is shaping up to be one of the biggest cards of the year, and its not done being built.
On Wednesday night, UFC Tonight announced that a fight between welterweights John Howard and Brandon Thatch has been booked for the July 11 card, which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
For the Boston native Howard (22-11), this could be a critical fight with do-or-die stakes for his UFC roster spot. Howard has lost three fights in a row, dating back to last April when he dropped a unanimous decision to Ryan Laflare. He subsequently dropped a split decision to Brian Ebersole, and was knocked out in his last appearance against Lorenz Larken at UFC Fight Night 59.
Before the losing streak had won four fights in a row, including victories over Uriah Hall and Siyar Bahadurzada in the UFC.
Thatch, 29, is coming off his first loss of his UFC career. He succumbed to Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night 60 in Broomfield, Colo., after his originally scheduled opponent, Stephen Thompson, was forced off the card due to an injury. Thatch (11-2) had won back-to-back fights in the UFC before that, scoring victories over Justin Edwards and Paulo Thiago.
UFC 189 will feature a featherweight title fight between the Irish firebrand Conor McGregor and longtime champion Jose Aldo, as well as a middleweight title bout between Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler.