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“NYBA” returns to the Octagon on New Year’s Day

Phil Baroni will look to shake off more than a year of ring-rust and snap a two-fight losing streak on January 1st, 2011 when he faces Ultimate Fighter Season 11 alumnus Brad Tavares at UFC 125 in Las Vegas. The occasion will mark Baroni’s second fight in the Octagon since re-signing with the UFC last year, as well as his second consecutive opponent with ties to TUF. “The New York Bad Ass” lost a unanimous decision to Ultimate Fighter Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah in November 2009 at UFC 106 in his last outing.

News of the match-up was initially reported by MMAJunkie and has since been confirmed by Baroni himself via Twitter.

Tavares, who turns 23 ten days before the bout, is currently 6-0 and most-recently outpointed Seth Baczysnki last June in his official promotional debut. Prior to the victory the Hawaiian had finished all five of his previous adversaries.

UFC 125 is headlined by a title-defense featuring 155-pound champ Frank Edgar putting his belt on the line against Gray Maynard, as well as Takanori Gomi testing Clay Guida’s motor (and chin), Thiago Silva fighting Brandon Vera, and Antonio McKee’s first crack at victory in the famous eight-sided cage. A bout between heavyweights Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin is also rumored for the event.