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MMA: Main event secured for Santa Ana Star card

In a fight that might be viewed as a light heavyweight title eliminator, Illinois’ Corey Anderson and Poland’s Jan Blachowicz have been matched in the main event of the scheduled Feb. 15 UFC card at the Santa Ana Star Center.

Meanwhile, as announced by the UFC on Tuesday, the number of New Mexico-connected fighters scheduled for the Rio Rancho event has grown to three.

Joining Albuquerque flyweight Ray Borg, as previously reported, are Albuquerque bantamweight Nicco Montaño and light heavyweight Devin Clark, who trains in Albuquerque at Jackson-Wink.

As of Tuesday, five matches have been announced.

Montaño (4-3), the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight champion, is matched against Macy Chiasson (5-1) of New Orleans.

Clark (10-4) is scheduled to face Russia’s Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-6).

As previously reported, Borg (12-4) is scheduled to face Brazil’s Rogerio Bontorin (16-1).

A flyweight fight between Texan Montana De La Rosa (10-5) and Italy’s Mara Romero Borella (12-6) completes the card as announced thus far.

Albuquerque’s Jon Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, is scheduled to defend his title in Houston on Feb. 8 against Dominick Reyes. Later in 2020, if Jones prevails as expected, he might well find himself defending against Anderson (13-4) or Blachowicz (25-8).

The main-event matchup was first reported by ESPN. It’s a rematch of a September 2015 fight, won by Anderson via unanimous decision.

Since a loss by third-round TKO to Ovince St. Preux in November 2017, Anderson has won four in a row, defeating Patrick Cummins, Glover Texeira, Ilir Latifi and Johnny Walker.

Since his loss to Anderson, Blachowicz has gone 7-3, most recently with victories over Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo Souza.

Borg will be fighting for just the third time since October 2017, his career interrupted by injury and by the serious medical condition of his young son Anthony. He’s 1-1 since his return, with a loss by unanimous decision to Casey Kenney in March and a victory via the same route over Gabriel Silva in July.

Bonterin is 2-0 in UFC competition after almost six years fighting on lesser circuits.

Like Borg, Montaño has spent a lot of time on the sidelines.

After defeating Roxanne Modafferi for the UFC flyweight title in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 26, physical and medical issues prevented her from defending the title for nine months. Then, the day before a scheduled defense against Valentina Shevchenko in September 2008, Montaño was hospitalized because of weight-cut complications and the fight was canceled.

Montaño then served a six-month suspension after testing positive for the banned substance ostarine, which she attributed to having taken a tainted supplement. She finally returned to the Octagon in July, losing by unanimous decision to Julianna Pena.

Chiasson, Montaño’s scheduled opponent, is 2-1 in UFC competition. She’s coming off a loss by unanimous decision to Lina Lansberg in September.

Clark, who came to Jackson-Wink from Rapid City, South Dakota, is 4-4 in UFC competition. One of his losses came against Blachowicz, via second-round submission (rear naked choke) in October 2017.

Antigulov is 2-2 in UFC competition. His most recent outing was a loss by first-round TKO against Michael Oleksiejczuk in April.

Tickets are expected to go on sale on Dec. 20.

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