Bryan Caraway Returns From Lengthy Layoff to Battle Luke Sanders in Fresno
The upcoming UFC Fresno has added a men’s bantamweight main-card bout. Returning after an 18-month layoff, the #6-ranked Bryan Caraway will face off with Luke Sanders, who will be entering the cage on the heels of his first professional loss. The bout was first reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN. UFC Fight Night 123 (UFC Fight Night: Fresno) takes place on December 9, 2017 at the SaveMart Center in Fresno, California. The event will air in the United States on Fox Sports 1.
New fight added to UFC Fight Night, Dec. 9. First for Bryan Caraway since win over Aljamain Sterling in May 2016. https://t.co/xjWrkiH39T
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 10, 2017
Despite a relatively inactive fight schedule (six fights in four years), Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) will be heading to Fresno riding a two-fight winning streak and wins in four of his last five octagon appearances. In his most recent outing in May of 2016, Caraway upset the nearly four-to-one favorite, Aljamain Sterling. Caraway survived early pressure from “Funkmaster” and managed to win both the second and third rounds landing him the decision victory. Prior to that, he showcased his improved striking and movement in a unanimous-decision victory over former title challenger, Eddie Wineland. Despite calling for fights on social media with the highly-ranked bantamweights like John Lineker and Jimmie Rivera, Caraway will instead have to settle for the unranked Sanders.
I would end U! I don't think U want to go 3-4 for ur exit out of the UFC… I would hate to end UR dream. But be careful what you ask for… https://t.co/YUAyWEeuzC
— Bryan Caraway (@BryanCaraway) October 7, 2017
“Cool Hand” Luke Sanders (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had long been considered one of the top bantamweights outside the UFC prior to his short-notice debut in January of 2016. Fighting up a weight class, he stunned Maximo Blanco on the feet then sunk in a rear-naked choke late in the first-round. In his second UFC appearance, Sanders was dominating veteran Iuri Alcantara before getting caught in a kneebar submission and losing for the first time in his twelve-fight career. The MMA Lab standout has six knockouts in eleven career victories.
With this addition, UFC Fresno now includes:
#4 Cub Swanson vs. #6 Brian Ortega
#10 Alexis Davis vs. #11 Liz Carmouche
#6 Bryan Caraway vs. Luke Sanders
Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
Eryk Anders vs. John Phillips
Alex Perez vs. Carls John de Tomas
Antonio Braga Neto vs. Trevin Giles
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
Iuri Alcantara vs. Alejandro Perez