“The Ultimate Fighter 8″ lightweight winner Efrain Escudero will return to the octagon on April 1st to take on Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 18.
Stephens recently announced the matchup on MySpace.
The 155-pound bout is the first fight unofficially confirmed for UFC Fight Night 18, which has not yet been officially announced by the UFC. A location for the event has not yet been revealed, though MMA Junkie reports that Nashville and Las Vegas are likely destinations for the event, which is likely to act as a lead-in for the debut of “The Ultimate Fighter 9″.
Prior to his appearance on “The Ultimate Fighter 8″, Escudero compiled a 10-0 professional record, primarily fighting in Rage in the Cage. On the reality series he defeated Ido Pariente, Shane Nelson, and Junie Browning to advance to the lightweight finals, where he topped highly-favored Phillipe Nover via unanimous decision in December.
Stephens (16-3) entered the UFC with an impressive 12-1 record, but suffered a second-round submission to Din Thomas in his UFC debut at UFC 71 in mid-2007. After rebounding with a victory outside the octagon, Stephens returned to the UFC and posted back-to-back victories over Diego Saraiva and Cole Miller. After dropping a unanimous decision to Spencer Fisher at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale in mid-2007, Stephens won “Knockout of the Night” honors for his third-round knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 91 in November.