No. 8-ranked bantamweight Aljamain Sterling was originally scheduled to take on Rani Yahya at UFC Fight Night Fresno on Dec. 9, 2017, but Yahya was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury.
Since then, the “Funkmaster” has been campaigning heavily for a fight with No. 4-ranked Jimmie Rivera, who was slated to meet ex-champion Dominick Cruz at Dec. 30’s UFC 219 prior to Cruz suffering an injury, but he ultimately didn’t receive his wish.
Moraes holds a professional record of 19-5-1, but he’s just 1-1 since entering the UFC earlier this year. He dropped a split-decision loss to Raphael Assuncao last June before scoring a split-decision victory over former two-time flyweight title challenger John Dodson at UFC 217 earlier this month in New York City. Ironically, Moraes also called out Rivera after his win over Dodson, but in the end, he agreed to step up on short notice to take on Sterling.
UFC Fight Night 123 is set to be headlined by a featherweight tilt between Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega.