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Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw for flyweight title targeted for UFC 233

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For the second straight pay-per-view, the UFC will have a champion vs. champion fight.

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Henry Cejudo is targeted for UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, Calif., sources confirmed Thursday with MMA Fighting. Dillashaw is the UFC bantamweight champion, while Cejudo holds the flyweight belt. The fight will be contested for Cejudo’s 125-pound title, with Dillashaw moving down.

News of the bout was first reported by Combate, while the weight class was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. The five-round title fight will likely be the main event of the pay-per-view card, sources said. Dillashaw vs. Cejudo has not yet been officially announced by the UFC and it remains unclear what this means for a UFC flyweight division that seems in danger of being abolished.

Geographically, the bout makes plenty of sense for the UFC. Dillashaw lives and trains close to Anaheim’s Honda Center, while Cejudo has roots in nearby Los Angeles. The card will be going head-to-head with Bellator, headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader for the Bellator heavyweight title, just about 35 miles away in Inglewood, Calif.

Dillashaw (16-3) is coming off two straight TKO victories over Cody Garbrandt, the most recent at UFC 227 in August. The California native took the title from Garbrandt at UFC 217 in November 2017. Dillashaw, 32, has won four straight and emerged as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. This is his second run as bantamweight champ.

Cejudo (13-2) won the flyweight title by beating Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 via split decision, a victory that snapped Johnson’s record for most consecutive title defenses. The Olympic gold medalist in wrestling has strung together three straight wins. Cejudo, 31, only has losses to Johnson and Joseph Benavidez in his career.

Also at UFC 233, James Vick will meet Paul Felder in a lightweight bout and Islam Makhachev will face Francisco Trinaldo in a lightweight fight. No co-main event has been made official yet, though ESPN has reported Ben Askren’s UFC debut will be against Robbie Lawler on the card.

Additional reporting by Shaun Al-Shatti.

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