UK lightweight Ross Pearson will look to turnaround a four-fight skid when he faces Mizuto Hirota at UFC 221. Hirota will return to lightweight after being pulled from his featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 117 due to weight cutting issues.
MMAJunkie.com broke the news first on Thursday, with UFC later announcing the fight as official on Saturday.
TUF 9 Winner Pearson suffered one of the most emphatic losses of his career in his last outing when Daniel Hooker knocked him out with a stiff knee in the second round at UFC Fight Night 110 in Auckland.
The bout was considered a must-win for the Sunderland native after coming up on the wrong side of consecutive decisions against Stevie Ray, Jorge Masvidal and former Bellator lightweight champion, Will Brooks.
Hirota is in his second stint with the UFC after losing to both Rani Yahya and Rodrigo Damm back in 2013. After being cut from the promotion he won three fights and entered the Road to UFC Japan tournament, reaching the final where he drew with Teruto Ishihara.
Ahead of his meeting with Volkanovski, Hirota claimed a decision win over Cole Miller.