He is just two fights into his UFC career but undefeated middleweight Eryk Anders has already landed himself his first main event.
Anders (10-0), a former college football standout and member of the Cleveland Browns roster, will face UFC veteran and former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the card set for Belem, Brazil, on February 3rd next.
Anders debuted with the organisation in July, scoring a first round TKO of Rafael Natal and he followed that last weekend with a unanimous decision victory against Markus Perez at the UFC’s trip to Fresno, California. Prior to signing with the UFC, Anders made one appearance in Bellator (a 23-second knockout) and claimed the LFA middleweight title less than a month before making his UFC debut.
Machida, meanwhile, is one of the UFC’s most experienced fighters. The former 205-pound champion now calls the middleweight division his home and has done so since 2013. The Brazilian has gone 3-4 in his run at 185-pounds and has lost three successive bouts to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson. His most recent loss, a first round knockout defeat against Brunson, was Machida’s first UFC appearance in two years after ‘The Dragon’ completed a suspension for a USADA violation.
Anders’ placement atop the card in Brazil suggests that the UFC see him as a potential star of the future. How he fares against the experienced Machida will be an ideal litmus test to determine just that.
UFC Belem also features bouts between Valentina Shevchenkov vs. Priscila Cachoeira and Thiago Santos vs. Anthony Smith.