(John Moraga leaves Ulysses Gomez in a heap during his Octagon debut at UFC on FOX 4. Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)
The UFC on FOX 8 bookings continue to pile up, with a pair of high-profile matchups announced last night by the UFC. First off, the July 27th event in Seattle now has an official main event: flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson vs. fast-rising challenger John Moraga, a matchup that was originally supposed to headline the TUF 17 Finale earlier this month before Mighty Mouse was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Johnson is coming off his first title defense in January — a unanimous decision win over John Dodson at UFC on FOX 6 — while Moraga’s two-fight stint in the UFC has produced stoppage victories over Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso…and that’s pretty much all it takes to get a title-shot at 125 pounds these days. Before starting his MMA career, Moraga was a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, and he currently trains at The Lab in Phoenix alongside Benson Henderson and Jamie Varner.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the fighter-weight spectrum, Matt Mitrione‘s suspension for being a jackass has ended after a long, arduous 15 days. (Meanwhile, War Machine is still allowed to speak freely. What a country.) That’s right, Meathead is being allowed back from time-out to fight Brendan Schaub at the UFC on FOX 8 event. Both fighters recently snapped two-fight losing streaks, with Mitrione hipbone-KO’ing Phil De Fries in 19 seconds at UFC on FUEL 9, and Schaub playing it safe against Lavar Johnson at UFC 157. I’m not calling this one a “win or get fired” fight, but let’s just say both men need to put on a good performance here to get back on the promotion’s good side.