A potential slugfest between Alessio Sakara (14-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and James Irvin (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) has been promoted to main-card status at UFC on Versus 1 and brings to four the number of televised bouts for the event, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) has confirmed with event officials.
UFC on Versus 1 takes place Sunday March 21 at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo.
It's the first UFC card televised live on the cable channel, and light heavyweights Brandon Vera and Jon Jones fight in the evening's main event.
Irvin has been absent from the octagon since July 2008, when current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva knocked him out in 61 seconds in the promotion's first stab at counter-promotion, UFC Fight Night 14, which countered Affliction Entertainment's debut event.
Irvin's career to date has been plagued by injuries. This past May, he was forced to withdraw from a fight at UFC 98 against Drew McFedries due to a knee injury. Then, three months later, he re-injured the knee in preparation for a fight against Wilson Gouveia at UFC 102 and was benched until early this year. Irvin lost in his octagon debut at UFC 51 but later sealed his spot in highlight-reel heaven when he knocked out Terry Martin with a vicious flying knee at UFC 54.
Sakara, meanwhile, is recently mended from an undisclosed injury that forced him to withdraw from a scheduled fight with Rousimar Palhares at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale this past December. Prior to that, the Italian put together his first consecutive UFC wins by besting Thales Leites on points at UFC 101 and knocking out Joe Vedepo by head kick at UFC Fight Night 15. The American Top Team fighter looks to make it three in a row when he meets Irvin.
The full UFC on Versus 1 card now includes:
Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Paul Buentello vs. Cheick Kongo
James Irvin vs. Alessio Sakara
Shannon Gugerty vs. Clay Guida
Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
John Howard vs. Daniel Roberts
Chase Gormley vs. Brendan Schaub
Julio Paulino vs. Mike Pierce
Jason Brilz vs. Eric Schafer
Darren Elkins vs. Duane "Bang" Ludwig*
* - Not officially announced