Lightweight Pairings Miller-Holtzman, Medeiros-Vannata Slated for UFC Rio Rancho

By Jay Pettry Dec 20, 2019

Two exciting lightweight matchups have been added to the Ultimate Fighting Championship's trip to New Mexico in February.

On Thursday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Jim Miller (31-13, 1 NC) will be facing Scott Holtzman (13-3), while Yancy Medeiros (15-6, 1 NC) is taking on Lando Vannata (10-4-2). Both bouts will take place in the lightweight division at UFC Rio Rancho on Feb. 15 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Vannata later confirmed his matchup on social media. The Albuquerque Journal also discussed the recently announced bantamweight bout between John Dodson and Nathaniel Wood, as well as the 135-pound scrap of Casey Kenney vs. Merab Dvalishvili.

Miller has won his last two bouts, tapping Jason Gonzalez in April and putting Clay Guida to sleep in August. One of the winningest fighters in UFC history, Miller earned his 20th victory in the Octagon by finishing Guida. "A-10" is currently tied with Donald Cerrone for the most appearances in promotional history, although Cerrone will capture that record for a few months when he faces Conor McGregor in January.

Holtzman forced the doctors to intervene when facing Dong Hyun Ma in August, finishing his Korean adversary at 5:00 of the second round. The win came on the heels of a decision loss to Nik Lentz in February -- a defeat that snapped a three-fight win streak over the likes of Alan Patrick Silva Alves and Darrell Horcher. Holtzman has yet to be finished in his 16-fight career, with all three of his losses coming on the scorecards.

Medeiros is currently riding the longest losing streak of his career, suffering knockouts at the hands of Cerrone in a headlining bout in 2018 and then in January against Gregor Gillespie. This nearly 13-month layoff will be his lengthiest since his almost three-year absence during his transition from Strikeforce to the UFC in 2010-2013. Medeiros has finished 80 percent of his opponents in his wins, although five of the six men to defeat him have also done so inside the distance.

Vannata lost by unanimous verdict to Marc Diakiese in September, dropping the mercurial striker's UFC record to 2-4-2 in his eight outings. Vannata has yet to string two wins together since joining the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2016. Despite this, the fan-favorite amassed four post-fight bonuses in his first four bouts with the UFC, including three for "Fight of the Night." Having fought to a draw against Bobby Green in 2017 and later with Matt Frevola in 2018, Vannata is one of just five fighters to ever earn multiple draws in their UFC careers.

UFC Rio Rancho will go down at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on Feb. 15. The event will be headlined by a light heavyweight rematch and potential title eliminator between Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz. Additionally, Mark De La Rosa and Montana De La Rosa are both scheduled to compete that night, making this event the first where a married couple will fight on the same UFC card.


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