An intriguing middleweight encounter between Antonio Carlos Junior and Brad Tavares is reportedly being rebooked for early next year.

According to Raphael Marinho of Brazilian publication Combate, the pair will meet on January 23. That happens to be the date of the UFC 257 pay-per-view which is set to be headlined by a lightweight bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

The pair were originally set to face each other at UFC Brasilia earlier this year only for Tavares to pull out due to injury. Tavares was replaced by Makhmud Muradov only for Carlos Junior to then suffer his own injury after tearing his ACL.

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The Brazilian later revealed he was hoping to face Tavares by the end of the year.

“Probably end of the year, November or December,” Carlos Junior said. “I hope I can fight Brad Tavares; he’s a good fighter and is also in the rankings.”

They will now have to make do with January on what promises to be an explosive start to the year with McGregor’s return to action.

Carlos Junior last competed in September last year when he suffered a split decision loss to Uriah Hall. That put him on a two-fight losing streak after previously winning his last five fights in a row.

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As for Tavares, he too, is on a two-fight losing streak following a unanimous decision defeat to Israel Adesanya in 2018 which was followed by a knockout loss to Edmen Shahbazyan in November last year.

Both fighters will naturally be desperate to return to the win column.

Who do you think wins this contest?