Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir will try to continue defining the light heavyweight title picture when they meet at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif. UFC officials announced the bout on Wednesday.
The light heavyweight landscape became a bit clearer on Sunday when Alexander Gustafsson, the No. 1 ranked 205-pounder in the UFC, defeated No. 2 ranked Glover Teixeira in the UFC Stockholm main event.
With champion Daniel Cormier squaring off with returning former champion Jon Jones, who was stripped of the belt, in the UFC 214 main event, Manuwa and Oezdemir can narrow the field of contenders considerably. Manuwa and Oezdemir are currently ranked at No. 3 and No. 5 respectively.
Manuwa (17-2) nearly landed the top spot opposite Cormier in the UFC 214 main event after knocking out Corey Anderson in mid-March. Jones could have opted for a warm-up fight in his return from suspension, but instead accepted an offer to rematch Cormier, leaving Manuwa to the undercard, where he will also serve as the primary back-up if Cormier or Jones is unable to compete come fight time.
Oezdemir (14-1) is fresh off of a 28-second knockout of Misha Cirkunov in Stockholm. That was only his second fight in the Octagon, but the quick knockout, which followed a win over Ovince Saint Preux in his promotional debut, launched him toward the top of the division.
Should he upset Manuwa, Oezdemir would immediately leap into title talks alongside Gustafsson, for a shot to challenge the winner of the Cormier vs. Jones rematch.
UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 takes place on July 29 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.