Gian Villante Moving to Heavyweight, Will Face Ben Rothwell at UFC 249

Ben Rothwell UFC
Ben Rothwell UFC DC weigh-in Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

UFC and Strikeforce veteran Gian Villante will jump back up to heavyweight when he faces Ben Rothwell at UFC 249.

After floating the idea over a year ago, Gian Villante is pulling the trigger on a move to heavyweight. Villante will make the jump up against ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell at UFC 249 later this year. Villante himself revealed the news while speaking to Newsday.

A member of the UFC roster since 2013 (after previously competing for Strikeforce), Villante (17-11) has mostly plied his trade at light heavyweight. However, he has competed up at heavyweight in the past, notably facing Chad Griggs under the Strikeforce banner. Villante is also a former Ring of Combat heavyweight champion.

Of late, Villante has been trading wins and losses inside the octagon. He’ll enter UFC 249 off a loss to Michał Oleksiejczuk at UFC Prague last year. Prior to that, he engaged in an all out war with Ed Herman at UFC Moncton, coming away with a split decision win in that October 2018 fight.

For Ben Rothwell (37-12), the bout will be a chance to make it two in a row, and put a rough patch fully behind him. Rothwell got back into the win column at UFC on ESPN 7 last month, snapping a three-fight skid. However, a couple of fouls soured Rothwell’s otherwise triumphant return to victory.

UFC 249 takes place April 18, 2020 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The PPV event is topped by yet another attempt to pair up Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Bouts currently expected to feature are as follows:

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson – for the UFC lightweight championship
Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo Souza
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade
Ben Rothwell vs. Gian Villante