A bantamweight showdown has been reported for UFC Phoenix on February 17th from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix Arizona featuring Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling. News of the bout was first reported by Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic. This bout was announced within hours of another bantamweight bout planned for 2019, Dominick Cruz and John Lineker being scrapped after Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout due to injury. Some fans suggested to Sterling on social media to seize the opportunity and jump in to face Lineker as a late-notice replacement. Sterling will instead seek a bigger opportunity from a rankings standpoint when he battles Jimmie Rivera in Phoenix.
Ranked #5 at bantamweight, Jimmie Rivera has suffered only one loss in 10 years, which came at the hands of Marlon Moraes with a first-round KO in June. Jimmie Rivera has recently lamented the inactivity of the division but with a bout now lined up between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes, that left Jimmie Rivera in need of a dance partner, to keep the division moving and now he has one who has a whole lot of funk.
Currently placed at #7, Aljamain Sterling will have an opportunity to take Rivera’s spot and enter the top five in the division with a win over Rivera. A victory over Rivera would make it three straight for Sterling, who is coming off back-to-back wins over Brett Johns and Cody Stamann.
With the addition of this bout, UFC Phoenix currently has the following bouts scheduled:
Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling
Jodie Esquibel vs. Jessica Penne
Who’s your pick to take the win? Aljamain Sterling or Jimmie Rivera?