A long-awaited welterweight bout is expected to take place at UFC Fight Night 21 when Anthony Johnson (8-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) finally meets John Howard (13-4 MMA, 3-0 UFC).
Sources close to the Versus-televised event told MMAjunkie.com
(www.mmajunkie.com) the fight is expected to take place on the main card of the March 21 event, though bout agreements have not been signed.
Although not officially announced by the promotion, UFC Fight Night 21 is expected to take place in Denver.
It's the first of two 2010 UFC events expected to air on Versus.
News of the Johnson vs. Howard first popped up when Howard posted a recent Facebook message. However, he didn't state at which event the fight would take place.
Johnson and Howard were originally slated to meet at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale in June 2009. However, Howard's management team reportedly didn't want the young fighter facing such a tough test so early in his career. Johnson has publicly bashed Howard ever since because of that decision.
"[Howard] said it was his management's call that made him not accept the fight," Johnson told MMAjunkie.com back in April 2009. "But at the end of the day, it's really your call. You're the one fighting. You're the one that's got to go out there and do the damn thing, not your management."
Johnson will apparently get the matchup, though it may be a case of being careful what you wish for. Howard, a one-time IFL fighter who also competed for the New Jersey-based Ring of Combat promotion, owns a six-fight win streak, and he's a perfect 3-0 in the UFC. In addition to split-decision wins over Chris Wilson and Tamdan McCrory, Howard also recently scored a come-from-behind third-round knockout of Dennis Hallman at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale.
Howard, who had lost the first two rounds of the December fight and seemed on his way to a unanimous-decision loss, scored the fight-ending left punch with just five seconds remaining in the final round.
Johnson, meanwhile, looks to rebound from his UFC 106 submission loss to Josh Koscheck. The defeat snapped the rising contender's three-fight win streak, which included knockout wins over Kevin Burns, Luigi Fioravanti and Yoshiyuki Yoshida.
Despite being an accomplished collegiate wrestler, Johnson prefers the stand-up game and has posted six knockouts in his eight career wins.
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 21
, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors
section of MMAjunkie.com.
(Pictured: Anthony Johnson)