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Erik Perez vs. John Castaneda to headline Combate Americas: Mexico vs. USA in title eliminator

Erik Perez
Erik Perez
Esther Lin, MMAFighting

Former UFC standout Erik Perez will look to make it five wins in a row when he squares off against John Castaneda in the three-round main event of Combate Americas: Mexico vs. USA on Oct. 13 in Tucson, Ariz.

Combate confirmed the matchup to MMA Fighting on Monday.

Perez (18-6), of Monterrey, Mexico, rose to fame during his four-year run in the UFC’s bantamweight division, which included a divisional record 17-second knockout over Ken Stone at UFC 150. However, following his decision win over Felipe Arantes in 2016, Perez chose to sign with Combate Americas rather than re-up with the UFC.

“Goyito” would go on to earn a third-round knockout over David Fuentes in his promotional debut last April.

Castaneda (16-4), of Mankato, Minn., was the runner-up of the inaugural Copa Combate, one-night, eight-man tournament. He will be looking to return to the win column after suffering a split decision loss to current champion Jose Alday at Combate Estrellas I in April.

The winner between Perez and Castaneda is expected to challenge Alday, who earned his crown following a hard-fought decision win over Gustavo Lopez last Friday, for his 135-pound title.

Also on the card will be a trio of bantamweight bouts: former UFC veteran Anthony Birchak (12-6) vs. Adam Martinez (5-1), Juan Pablo Gonzalez (7-1-2) vs. Mario Bautista (5-0) and Arturo Guzman (2-2) vs. Kasey Tanner (1-0).

Perez’s younger brother, Jair “El Lupe” Perez (1-0), will also take on Peter De La Cruz (1-0) while Misael Iñarritu (6-2) faces Peter Quezada (1-4).

The entire card will go down at the AVA Amphitheater at Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 13.