After a lineup change that saw the return of Charlie Brenneman to face newcomer Beneil Dariush, the UFC’s return to Georgia has seen a shuffling on the main card.
The beneficiaries will be flyweights John Moraga (13-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Dustin Ortiz (12-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who will move up from the preliminary card to the six-fight main card. The UFC made the changes official not long after confirming Brenneman-Dariush, a fight first reported by MMAjunkie.
Dariush had been set for the main card against Jason High. But when High was forced out after a ruptured appendix, Brenneman stepped in. And now that fight goes to the untelevised prelims, which will stream on UFC Fight Pass. The lightweight bout now will open the card.
UFC Fight Night 35 takes place Jan. 15 at Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., north of Atlanta. The night’s main card will air on FOX Sports 1, as will four prelims. The first two prelims stream on the UFC’s new Fight Pass digital network.
The event will be the UFC’s first in Georgia since the UFC 145 pay-per-view in Atlanta in April 2012. A total of 12 bouts are slated for the show. UFC Fight Night 35 features a middleweight headliner between former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold (10-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Constantinos Philippou (12-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC).
Moraga will be fighting for the first time since a July submission loss to Demetrious Johnson when he challenged for the flyweight title. Before that, the Arizonan had a seven-fight winning streak to earn a shot at the 125-pound title. Moraga was expected to be back this past month at UFC on FOX 9, but an injury knocked him out of a fight against Darren Uyenoyama. Instead, he’ll fight a month later than expected against Ortiz.
Ortiz, a Tennessee native, has won four straight, including his UFC debut in November. For that fight, the Strikeforce and Tachi Palace Fights veteran went into hostile territory in Brazil and took out Jose Maria Tome in the third round with a TKO.
The full UFC Fight Night 35 lineup includes:
MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1, 7 p.m. ET)
- Luke Rockhold vs. Constantinos Philippou
- Lorenz Larkin vs. Brad Tavares
- T.J. Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton
- Derek Brunson vs. Yoel Romero
- John Moraga vs. Dustin Ortiz
- Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 5 p.m. ET)
- Justin Edwards vs. Ramsey Nijem
- Elias Silverio vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
- Brian Houston vs. Trevor Smith
- Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Louis Smolka
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 4 p.m. ET)
- Vinc Pichel vs. Garett Whiteley
- Charlie Brenneman vs. Beneil Dariush
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 35, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: John Moraga)