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By: Chris Taylor (Kalapaki Joe’s Staff Writer)

Three big fights were recently announced for UFC 219 which takes place on December 30 live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The first marquee matchup will take place in the promotions bantamweight division as former title holder Dominick Cruz will return to action opposite surging bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera.

Cruz was most recently seen in action at UFC 207 in December of 2016 where he suffered a lopsided decision loss to Cody Garbrandt, surrendering his bantamweight crown in the process.

Prior to the setback, Cruz had put together an amazing thirteen-fight win streak which saw “The Dominator” earn wins over the likes of Uriah Faber, TJ Dillashaw and Demetrious Johnson.

Meanwhile, Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA) is currently riding an amazing twenty-fight win streak, his latest being a decision victory over Thomas Almeida at July’s UFC on FOX event from Long Island.

The second big fight announced for UFC 219 was a women’s strawweight tilt featuring former champion Carla Esparza taking on surging contender Cynthia Calvillo.

Esparza was most recently seen in action this past June where she earned a unanimous decision victory over Maryna Moroz. Esparza has gone 2-1 since losing her title to Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 185.

Meanwhile, Calvillo improved her record to a perfect 6-0 this past July by defeating Joanne Calderwood via decision. Cynthia has scored finished in four of her six professional bouts.

The third fight announced for the December 30 pay-per-view event was a flyweight bout between Hawaiian standout Louis Smolka and Matheus Nicolau.

Smolka will be looking to snap a three-fight losing skid at the event.

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