Former welterweight number one contender Thiago Alves (17-7) will start his slow climb back up the division ladder when he faces division prospect John Howard (14-5) at the upcoming UFC 124 pay-per-view (PPV) from the Bell Centre on Dec. 11 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Fighter's Only confirmed the previously rumored match-up late last night.
"Pitbull" was put back on his leash by 170-pound stalwart Jon Fitch at UFC 117: "Silva vs. Sonnen" on Aug. 17. It was his second straight defeat after a torrid seven-fight winning streak that saw him topple the likes of Chris Lytle, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck.
While his only losses in the past five years have come to Fitch (twice) and reigning champion Georges St. Pierre, the welterweight division is one of the promotion's deepest, and it could take several wins to once again see Alves challenging for the belt.
Assuming he can make weight.
UFC President Dana White put Alves on notice following his failure to come in under the division limit at the UFC 117 weigh ins. A career at 170-pounds hinges on his ability to continually make weight and to aid him in that goal, the "Pitbull" camp has brought in nutrition guru Mike Dolce.
Also looking to rebound from a recent loss is Howard. "Doomsday" was in cruise control over the past year and a half, assembling four consecutive wins en route to bigger and better things inside the Octagon.
Enter Jake Ellenberger.
The Nebraskan sent Howard home with a technical knockout loss (doctor's stoppage) after three rounds of abuse at the UFC on Versus 2 event on Aug. 1 in San Diego.
No question the defeat was a setback for the rising star, but a big win over a name like Alves could vault him right back into the mix.
UFC 124 will feature a rematch between division champion Georges St. Pierre and fellow Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 coach Josh Koscheck. "Rush" claimed a unanimous decision win over "Kos" when they first met at UFC 74: "Respect" in Aug. 2007.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more information on this still-developing fight card.