A heavyweight main event is currently in the works for the UFC’s first ever card in Raleigh, N.C., as former champion Junior dos Santos is expected to face Curtis Blaydes on Jan. 25 for a card airing on ESPN+.
Multiple sources confirmed to MMA Fighting on Wednesday that verbal agreements are in place from both sides, although contracts have not been signed yet. The UFC hasn’t made any official announcement regarding the main event, although the promotion just confirmed the card earlier this week. The news of the fight was first reported by ESPN.
Dos Santos makes his return to action after a bacterial infection knocked him out of his previously scheduled fight against Alexander Volkov this past weekend at UFC Fight Night from Moscow, Russia. The Brazilian will now compete in January as he looks to bounce back from a loss to Francis Ngannou this past June, which halted a three-fight winning streak.
As for Blaydes, he’s coming off two straight wins, including a second round TKO against Shamil Abdurakhimov in his most recent outing.
The former college wrestler has gone 6-1 in his past seven fights, with his only loss coming in a rematch with Ngannou in 2018.
Assuming the fight is finalized, dos Santos and Blaydes will clash in the main event from North Carolina as the UFC goes head-to-head with a Bellator card that same night, which features Cris Cyborg in her promotional debut against Julia Budd in a featherweight title bout.