According to sources close to both fighters, a bantamweight scrap is in the works for February between Francisco Rivera and Raphael Assuncao. Both sides are awaiting the contracts and it is unclear whether it will be at UFC 169 on Feb. 1 in New Jersey or more likely two weeks later at the UFC Fight Night card featuring Lyoto Machida against Gegard Mousasi in Southern Brazil.
Rivera had hopes of this matchup being his next as he told us in a recent interview, and Assuncao just today retweeted our tweet about it saying, “Let’s make it happen Jan. 15.”
Rivera is coming off a knockout over George Roop at the Fight for the Troops, marking his fifth straight win, four of which being knockout finishes. Rivera has proven he has some of the heaviest hands in the bantamweight division and will look to feature that power yet again when he faces the Brazilian contender.
Assuncao is riding a 5-fight win streak of his own, most recently defeating Team Alpha Male standout T.J. Dillashaw via split decision. Assuncao is undefeated since making the drop to bantamweight and has his sights set on a title shot.
Breaking the potential fight down, both men have quality boxing skills and great combinations, with a slight edge in power to Rivera. Assuncao, though has a distinct advantage if the fight hits the mat due to his wealth of experience competing in jiu-jitsu. If this fight does in fact come to fruition, the winner will emerge as a top contender.