A middleweight matchup between Antonio Carlos Junior and Brad Tavares is the latest addition to January’s UFC 257 pay-per-view card.
Junior vs. Tavares will take place on January 23 at UFC 257, a PPV event that is scheduled to be headlined by UFC superstar Conor McGregor against rival Dustin Poirier in a rematch. The news of the matchup was first revealed by Combate’s Raphael Marinho. It should be noted that the UFC previously tried to book Junior vs. Tavares for UFC Brasilia in March of this year, but Tavares was forced to pull out due to an injury.
Ultimate acertou Antonio Cara de Sapato x Brad Tavares pra 23 de janeiro. #feedmma
— Raphael Marinho (@raphamarinho) October 31, 2020
Ultimate hit Antonio Cara de Sapato x Brad Tavares for January 23.#feedmma
Junior (10-4, 1 NC) is the former TUF Brazil 3 winner. The 30-year-old Brazilian is 7-4, 1 NC in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2014 while fighting at heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight. Since 2015 Junior has been fighting exclusively at 185lbs, going 6-3, 1 NC overall at middleweight. However, after a five-fight win streak from 2016 to 2018, Junior has taken a step backward in his last two outings, losing to Uriah Hall and Ian Heinisch by decision. Junior was most recently seen taking a shot at Paulo Costa.
Tavares (17-6) is the No. 12 ranked middleweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old American has been a member of the UFC roster since 2010, going 12-6 over the last decade while fighting for the world’s top MMA promotion. However, after winning four straight fights from 2016 to 2018, Tavares has dropped his last two fights to Israel Adesanya and Edmen Shahbazyan, the latter by knockout. He hasn’t fought since November 2019.
With Tavares already in the top-15 and Junior looking to break into the rankings, this is a key fight for the bottom end of the top-15 rankings by two underrated fighters who are generally not given the credit they deserve by most fight fans.
Who do you think wins, Antonio Carlos Junior or Brad Tavares?