MANILA, Philippines – A tough test awaits Filipino-American fighter Phillipe Nover as he squares off with former bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC Fight Night 95 on September 24.
The 32-year-old native of Brooklyn, New York confirmed his 3-round featherweight encounter against Barao through his official Instagram account on Thursday, August 4.
Nover (11-6-1) gained prominence in 2008 when he joined season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality television series as a lightweight contestant.
“Super Nover” forced Joe Duarte to wave the white flag with a rear-naked in the preliminary round of the show before using the same submission hold on Dave Kaplan in the first phase of the tourney.
Nover was able to get a slot in the finale by coercing George Roop to tap with a Kimura lock in the semi-final round, but the Filipino fell short in his bid to become “The Ultimate Fighter” winner as he dropped a unanimous decision to Efrain Escudero.
Renzo Gracie’s pupil eventually received a UFC contract after his decision setback to Escudero, but his next two outings also resulted in losing efforts.
Due to his disappointing 3-fight losing skid, Nover was released from the UFC in February 2010.
Nover revitalized his prizefighting career by making sporadic appearances in different promotions such as Bellator MMA and piling up 3 consecutive victories, which included a lightweight title-winning performance in Ring of Combat.
After 5 years of wandering outside the confines of the UFC, Nover earned a second opportunity to strut his wares again in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization in May 2015, claiming a split decision win over South Korea’s Yui Chul Nam in front of die-hard Filipino fans.
Nover snapped his 4-match winning streak by yielding to Russia’s Zubaira Tukhugov via split decision in December 2015.
On the other hand, Barao (33-4, 1 NC) made an unsuccessful featherweight debut this past May, falling to Jeremy Stephens by way of unanimous decision.
The 29-year-old Brazilian became the official UFC bantamweight titleholder in February 2014 after capturing the interim championship in July 2012 at the expense of Urijah Faber and successfully defending it twice during the absence of Dominick Cruz.
Barao relinquished the gold-plated strap to TJ Dillashaw in May 2014 and failed to regain the belt in their July 2015 rematch.
“The Baron” opted to move up to featherweight when he started to struggle to meet the 135-pound limit of the bantamweight division.
UFC Fight Night 95 is set to take place at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasília, Brazil. – Rappler.com