In a bout first reported by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
), Rob Emerson (9-8 MMA, 3-2-1 UFC) meets Nik Lentz (17-3-2 MMA, 1-0-1 UFC) on the UFC Fight Night 21 preliminary card.
The UFC today announced the matchup, bringing the total number of fights on the card to 11.
Featuring a lightweight matchup between perennial contender Kenny Florian and Japanese import Takanori Gomi, UFC Fight Night 21 takes place March 31 at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. The main card airs live on Spike TV and serves as the lead-in for "The Ultimate Fighter 11" season debut.
Lentz was behind on the scorecards in his most recent octagon appearance against Thiago Tavares at UFC Fight Night 20, but a deduction to the Brazilian for an inadvertent groin kick in the final frame left the fight as a majority draw. It was a disappointing result for Lentz, a product of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, as he had earned seven-straight win over a near-two-year period since his most recent blemish, which, ironically enough, was a draw against WEC veteran Kyle Jensen.
Lentz made a successful octagon debut this past September at UFC 103, where he defeated Rafaello Oliveira by decision.
Emerson, meanwhile, got back on the winning track earlier this month when he defeated "The Ultimate Fighter 8" finalist Phillipe Nover at UFC 109.
A cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter 5," Emerson fell short against Kurt Pellegrino and Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 17 and UFC 103, respectively, and vowed to re-tool his training regimen prior to his meeting with Nover. To that end, Emerson migrated to Hilo, Hawaii, to train with B.J. Penn in addition to his work in Huntington Beach, Calif., and said the experience helped him harness the mental aspects of fighting.
The full UFC Fight Night 21 lineup now includes:
Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi
Roy Nelson vs. Stefan Struve
Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera
Ross Pearson vs. Dennis Siver
Rafaello Oliveira vs. Andre Winner
Ronys Torres vs. Jacob Volkmann
Rob Emerson vs. Nik Lentz
Gleison Tibau vs. Caol Uno
Lucio Linhares vs. Yushin Okami
Gerald Harris vs. Mario Miranda
Charlie Brenneman vs. Jason High