UFC Fight Night 81 will be held on January 17, 2016 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
A UFC Bantamweight Championship bout between current champion T.J. Dillashaw and former WEC and UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will headline the stacked lineup in Boston.
Dillashaw (12-2 MMA) won the UFC Bantamweight title against Renan Barao at UFC 173 in a ‘Performance of the Night’ and a ‘Fight of the Night’ dominant performance. An immediate rematch with Barão was scheduled to take place on August 30, 2014, at UFC 177. However, the day of the weigh-ins, Barão had to be admitted to the hospital as a result of his attempts to cut weight and was replaced by Joe Soto who was already scheduled to compete in a fight on the event’s preliminary card. Dillashaw defeated Soto via knockout in the fifth round. The win also earned Dillashaw his second consecutive Performance of the Night bonus award.
The rematch with Barao eventually took place at UFC on Fox 16 on July 25, 2015. Dillashaw won the fight via TKO in the fourth round to retain his title. He also earned a his third straight Performance of the Night bonus.
After nearly three years away from the sport due to injuries, Cruz, the former WEC and UFC champion returned to the octagon on September 27, 2014 at UFC 178 where he faced Takeya Mizugaki. Cruz won the fight by KO in the first round. The win also earned Cruz his first Performance of the Night bonus award. At the post-fight press conference, Dana White confirmed that Cruz’s next fight would be for the Bantamweight Championship against T.J. Dillashaw.
The co-main event features a lightweight bout between former champion Anthony Pettis and former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez.
The full card can be found below along with a video preview of the event.
Main Card (Fox Sports 1)
T.J. Dillashaw (c) vs. Dominick Cruz
Anthony Pettis vs. Eddie Alvarez
Travis Browne vs. Matt Mitrione
Ross Pearson vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Patrick Côté vs. Ben Saunders
Chris Wade vs. Mehdi Baghdad
Tim Boetsch vs. Ed Herman
Maximo Blanco vs. Luke Sanders
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Paul Felder vs. Daron Cruickshank
Charles Rosa vs. TBA
Ilir Latifi vs. Sean O’Connell
Rob Font vs. Joey Gomez
Francimar Barroso vs. Abdul-Kerim Edilov