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Ex-UFC champ Renan Barao faces Horacio Gutierrez at Eagle FC 44 in January

Renan Barao will try to make weigh at the UFC 173 weigh-ins Friday night.
Renan Barao will try to make weigh at the UFC 173 weigh-ins Friday night.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It’s been a long road for former UFC champion Renan Barao to finally book his next fight but he’s now scheduled to clash with Horacio Gutierrez as part of the upcoming Eagle FC 44 card on Jan. 28 in Miami.

Eagle FC officials confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Monday.

Barao will be competing for the first time since 2019 when he suffered his fifth consecutive loss in a row with the UFC before exiting the promotion. Since then, Barao had been scheduled in at least two different bouts but one was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the other was scrapped after the Brazilian’s opponent dropped off the card on the day of the event.

Now Barao will join the promotion owned and operated by retired UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as Eagle FC debuts in the United States in January with plans for multiple shows in the U.S. throughout 2022.

Once regarded as the best bantamweight in the sport, Barao will seek to get back on track while facing off with a fellow octagon veteran in Gutierrez, who competed in the UFC on two previous occasions after appearing on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America season 2.

Gutierrez is currently riding a four-fight win streak with his last three fights taking place under in Combate where he picked up wins over Marlon Gonzales, Chase Gibson and Chris Avila.

Barao vs. Gutierrez joins a growing card for Eagle FC 44, which will now be headlined by a heavyweight fight between Tyrone Spong and Sergei Kharitonov.

Spong was originally scheduled to meet former UFC title contender Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva but he’s been forced off the card. Now Kharitonov will step in to face Spong in the heavyweight main event on Jan. 28.

ESPN first reported the change to the main event.