Although he was ranked among the top 10 competitors in the 145-pound division, Nik Lentz has decided to return to the lightweight division. The Carny will meet Danny Castillo at UFC on Fox 17 on December 19.
The matchup was announced by the UFC on Tuesday.
Lentz won his first three bouts in the featherweight class and rose into title contention. However, he ran into some tough opponents after that, losing to Chad Mendes and Charles Oliveira in two of his past three outings.
Falling against opponents like Mendes and Oliveira was nothing to get too discouraged about, so Lentz could be making a mistake in leaving the division in which he was an established contender. However, the lightweight landscape has changed since Lentz last competed at 155 pounds, so he might be able to make a run toward the top there as well.
Meanwhile, Castillo has lost three in a row. Despite the skid, Last Call has received another shot, likely because his most recent defeat came in a split decision against Jim Miller. Still, one would expect Castillo to see a lesser opponent than Lentz after such a long slump.
While the matchup might not make perfect sense—given Lentz’s position in and Castillo’s absence from the UFC rankings—Lentz and Castillo do match up well on paper. Both are solid wrestlers with some big wins on their resumes, so this should be competitive for all three rounds.
As UFC on Fox 17 is shaping up to be a stacked card, Lentz and Castillo will probably end up on the preliminary card. A lightweight title bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone will headline the event, while heavyweights Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem will also appear.
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