An alumnus from the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, Matt Riddle had been scheduled to make his welterweight debut in a UFC 91 matchup this past November against Ryan Thomas. However, a serious knee injury sustained while training forced Riddle off the card and created an opening for fellow TUF 7 veteran Matt Brown.

Riddle has been making progress in his recovery from the injury and sources close to 22-year old fighter have informed that he’s expected to return to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 17 on February 7 against Steve “Hollywood” Bruno.

The fight will mark just the second bout of Riddle’s pro career with his official debut having taken place during the live finale for the seventh season of TUF this past June. Matched up against veteran Dante Rivera, the former standout collegiate wrestler was able to defeat his vastly more experienced opposition with a unanimous decision victory.

Bruno improved his overall pro MMA record to 12-4 following his second round submission win over Johnny Rees during “UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fight for the Troops” in Fayetteville, North Carolina on December 10.

A five-year veteran of the Navy, Bruno was involved in a helicopter accident in September of 2002 in the Middle East in which he credited the Army for help saving his life.

“When we crashed, the Navy helicopter that medevacked us to Kuwait ended up getting lost on the way there,” Bruno began to tell last month in a special column covering the Armed Forces veterans who fought at UFN 16. “We had to shut down and they put us in an Army helicopter and they were able to find the hospital. I owe the Army — they basically saved my life.”

Bruno trains out of American Top Team in Florida and is 1-1 lifetime in the UFC with his debut having been a unanimous decision loss to Chris Wilson at UFC 87 this past August. In addition to competing for the UFC, Bruno has also fought for the IFL, MFC, and Spirit MC in South Korea.

UFN 17 will emanate from the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida with the current card reported to be the following:

  • Joe Lauzon vs. Hermes Franca
  • Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer
  • Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone
  • Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic
  • Anthony Johnson vs. Luigi Fioravanti
  • Jake Rosholt vs. Alessio Sakara
  • Rich Clementi vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Kurt Pellegrino vs. Rob Emerson
  • Matt Riddle vs. Steve Bruno
  • Matt Grice vs. George Sotiropoulos