Jonathan Brookins, who won the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter at lightweight, will drop down to featherweight for his next bout when he faces Erik Koch in New Orleans at UFC Battle on the Bayou on September. 17th The UFC announced the booking today:
“Verbal agreements are in place for a featherweight showdown between Erik Koch and Jonathan Brookins, September 17 at UFC Fight Night in New Orleans,” said UFC President Dana White. “Koch is one of the division’s fastest rising stars and this will be Brookins’ first fight since winning The Ultimate Fighter, season 12.”
Brookins, a former WEC fighter, impressed during his run on TUF as a lightweight, using an aggressive grappling game to dominate the competition. Although he showed some serious deficiencies in his striking game in his finale bout with Michael Johnson, he was still able to gain the victory. An eye injury sidelined Brookins from a scheduled bout with Jeremy Stephens in June, but now with a plan to drop down to the featherweight division (where he has fought previously), he’ll have his eyes set on Koch and New Orleans in September.
The Duke Roufus-trained Koch is one of the UFC’s most promising prospects at 145 lbs, with KO power in his hands and feet, and a potent submission game as well. At just 22 years of age, “New Breed’s” only career loss is to the UFC’s current #1 contender at 145 lbs, Chad Mendes. Koch was penciled in for a fight with Cub Swanson at UFC 132 in July, but an injury to Swanson caused the bout to be scrapped, and Koch to be re-booked for the September fight with Brookins.
Brookins will be joined by another TUF winner on the card, as season 11 champion, Court McGee will meet Dongi Yang, while another middleweight matchup will pit hometown favorite, Alan Belcher, against Jason MacDonald.
Jonathan Brookins (12-3)
Win Michael Johnson (unam. decision) – TUF 12 Finale
Win Yosdenis Cedeno (unam. decision) – Bad Blood 3
Win Luis Palomino (submission – rear naked choke) – Bad Blood 2
Erik “New Breed” Koch (12-1)
Win Raphael Assuncao (KO – punch) – UFC 128
Win Francisco Rivera (KO – head kick) – WEC 52
Win Bendy Casimir (submission – triangle choke) – WEC 49
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