Up-and-coming welterweights DaMarques Johnson (10-7) and Brad Blackburn (15-10-1) have verbally agreed to fight at UFC 112 from the Concert Arena, Ferrari World, Yas Island on April 10 in Abu Dhabi, according to MMA Fighting.
After defeating Ray Elbe by technical knockout to make the final cut for Team U.S. on Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Johnson submitted Dean Amasinger via triangle choke to reach the semifinals. Following a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Nick Osipczak, Johnson was one fight away from UFC stardom.
Then he ran into Team U.K. finalist James Wilks, who completely tooled the former soldier from the opening bell, eventually securing a rear naked choke for the submission win at last June's TUF Finale.
No question the Jeremy Horn protege and jiu-jitsu instructor used that loss to tighten up his game as was evidenced by his UFC 107 submission (triangle choke) win over Edgar Garcia on Dec. 12 of last year.
Like Johnson, Blackburn was in cruise control for a handful of fights before running into Amir Sadollah at UFC Fight Night 20 just last month. It was a "Bad" night for the Seattle native, who was convincingly handled en route to a unanimous decision loss.
That defeat snapped a five-fight winning streak that saw him dismantle the likes of Jay Hieron, Ryo Chonan and Edgar Garcia. The former IFL standout is a well-rounded competitor who is a dangerous test for anyone tipping the scale at 170-pounds.
UFC 112 is expected to feature two world title fights, including middleweight champion Anderson Silva taking on Demian Maia and lightweight kingpin BJ Penn putting his belt on the line against Frankie Edgar.
For the latest UFC 112 fight card and rumors click here.