Seven-fight Octagon veteran Thiago Tavares has agreed to take on Nik Lentz in a lightweight showdown at UFC Fight Night 20 from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., on Jan. 11, 2010. in Fairfax.
The promotion made the announcement earlier today after it was revealed that Jeremy Stephens was injured in training and unable to compete against "The Carnie" on the preliminary card of the Spike TV special.
Tavares most recently appeared inside the cage against Manny Gamburyan at UFC 94 "St. Pierre vs. Penn 2″ on Jan. 31, scoring a unanimous decision win over the "Pitbull."
He was supposed to return to action much sooner; however, he reportedly sustained an elbow injury while training for a bout against Melvin Guillard, forcing him out of the lightweight contest earlier this year. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu powerhouse was also scratched from a proposed match up against Jim Miller at UFC 103 in Sept. because of another boo boo.
After bursting onto the UFC scene with two straight wins, Tavares created quite a buzz as a possible threat to the champion. However, he has since come back down to Earth, losing three of his last five fights.
Stringing together consecutive victories inside the Octagon for this first time since 2007 would more than likely propel him back into the mix.
Lentz is on a eight-fight win streak that dates back more than two years. He has competed primarily on the local circuit for most of his career.
The Minnesota Martial Arts Academy product recently scored a unanimous decision win over Rafaello Oliveira in his Octagon debut at UFC 103: "Franklin vs. Belfort" back on Sept. 19 and also outpointed UFC veteran Drew Fickett at SNMMA: "Beatdown at 4 Bears" to make a name for himself earlier this year.
UFC Fight Night 20 features a rematch between Ultimate Fighter rivals Gray Maynard (8-0) and Nate Diaz (11-4), who will duke it out in a possible number one contender bout for the 155-pound title. Undefeated lightweights Efrain Escudero and Evan Dunham are also scheduled to hook 'em up.
For more on UFC Fight Night 20 click here.