Ricardo Almeida (9-3) will return to action against former IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich (23-11-1) at UFC Fight Night 18 in Nashville, Tenn., on April 1.
The 185-pound tilt was supposed to go down at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote" in October 2008; however, an injury forced "Big Dog" off the card. "Suave" remained on the card and gave last minute replacement Dan Miller all he could handle, but he eventually lost the bout via a hard-fought unanimous decision.
Almeida could have very well found himself in the main event of the UFC 90 card in a title match against Anderson Silva had things gone his way against Patrick Cote at UFC 86: "Jackson vs. Griffin" in July of last year. However, the Brazilian dropped a razor thin split decision, snapping a seven-fight win streak.
The Hamilton, N.J., resident now appears fit to get back in the thick of things and re-establish himself as a top contender in the division to start his 2009 fight campaign.
Horwich –- the first-ever IFL middleweight champion -– is a mixed martial arts veteran who was on a roll before losing his title to Ryan McGivern via unanimous decision earlier last year. "Suave" rebounded with a unanimous decision win over Joey Guel three months later to get back to his winning ways.
This will be his sophomore effort inside the Octagon ... and yet another daunting task.
UFC Fight Night 18 will serve as the lead-in to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 on Spike TV. The event has yet to be announced or made official; however, two lightweight bouts are also rumored for the show, including a match up between TUF 8 lightweight winner Efrain Escuedero taking on Jeremy Stephens and Junie Browning challenging Cole Miller.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more announcements and news surrounding UFC Fight Night 18.