The Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) next light heavyweight championship fight has an official date and location, as UFC 159: "Jones vs. Sonnen" will go from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on April 27, 2013.
As expected, a 205-pound title affair will serve as the headliner with reigning champ Jon Jones set to put his belt on the line for the fifth time against two-time middleweight title challenger and divisional No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen.
The two men recently concluding coaching season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show, which begins airing on Tues., Jan. 22, 2013, on FX Networks.
MMA Junkie confirmed the event with UFC officials on Tuesday morning.
UFC 159 will air on pay-per-view (PPV), with the event "Prelims" likely to air on FX and Facebook.
At the time of this report, Jones vs. Sonnen is the only match confirmed for the fight card, which will be the organization's 12th in the state of New Jersey.
Jones (17-1) last fought at UFC 152 last September where he defeated Vitor Belfort via fourth-round submission. The victory marked Jones' fourth successful title defense, meaning the 25-year-old only needs one more to tie UFC Hall-of-Fame inductee Tito Ortiz for the record. Although Jones is a very young fighter, he carries a wealth of experience against high-level opponents and is on his way to becoming one of the sport's all-time greats.
It was not long ago that Jones said he would not fight Sonnen unless the former middleweight title challenger earned his shot at the belt. The New York native repeatedly stated he would not let Sonnen talk his way into a fight with him, but eventually changed his tune and agreed to coach TUF 17.
Sonnen (28-12-1) will get an opportunity to fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship without having a single fight at 205-pounds in over six-years. The 35-year-old last fought on July 7 in Las Vegas, where he lost to middleweight champ Anderson Silva for the second time. After the defeat, Sonnen decided a change in weight class was in order and decided to move to light heavyweight. Sonnen was expected to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 155 on Dec. 29, 2012; however, the UFC has decided to remove him from the bout in favor of coaching the reality show opposite Jones.
Sonnen is a skilled wrestler with a relentless, attacking style that nearly allowed him to upset middleweight champion Anderson Silva in 2010.
Even though UFC 159 is still four months away, the hype has already began for Jones vs. Sonnen and will continue every Tuesday night on FX until fight night arrives.