MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for middleweight prospect Brendan Allen, lightweight up-and-comer Mason Jones, and entertaining middleweight Anthony Hernandez.
With UFC cards being held most weekends, Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby have their matchmaking work cut out if they’re to fill them, meaning new bouts are confirmed each and every week.
The major announcement from this week came at lightweight, where the vacant title matchup was confirmed during Saturday’s UFC Long Island broadcast. In one of the most anticipated collisions in the promotion, rising contender Islam Makhachev will meet former champion Charles Oliveira in Abu Dhabi, which you can read about here.
But it wasn’t all positive, with a number of fights falling through in recent days. For those failed pairings, see the list below:
- Ignacio Bahamondes (OUT through visa issues) vs. Ľudovít Klein – UFC 277 (July 30)
- Ramiz Brahimaj (OUT through injury) vs. Michael Morales – UFC 277 (July 30)
- Mariya Agapova (OUT through injury) vs. Ji Yeon Kim – UFC 277 (July 30)
- Diego Ferreira (OUT through injury) vs. Drakkar Klose – UFC 277 (July 30)
- Estela Nunes (OUT through injury) vs. Yazmin Jauregui – UFC San Diego (August 13)
With those withdrawals, a number of short-notice matchups have been made. For information on those, as well as a number of bouts that may have flown under your radar between July 11 and July 16, scroll down and check out this week’s matchmaking bulletin.
Mason Jones vs. Ľudovít Klein – UFC London (July 23)
Getting to fight in front of a home UK crowd will be Mason Jones (11-1). The Welshman, who is a former two-division Cage Warriors champion, fell short on his promotional debut in a Fight of the Night contest against Mike Davis.
While he impressed in his sophomore outing against Alan Patrick, an accidental eye poke resulted in a no contest. At the third time of trying, “The Dragon” entered the win column in the UFC, outpointing the highly touted David Onama last October.
While it appeared that Jones’ chance to return on UK shores had passed, Ignacio Bahamondes’ withdrawal from UFC 277 left Ľudovít Klein without an opponent. He’ll now be fighting a week earlier, making the trip across the pond in search of back-to-back wins following his victory over Devonte Smith at UFC 272.
This matchup was first reported by ESPN Deportes’ Carlos Contreras Legaspi.
Drakkar Klose vs. Rafa García – UFC 277 (July 30)
As well as Bahamondes’ withdrawal, the UFC 277 pay-per-view has taken a few other hits, namely the absence of Diego Ferreira, who’s been forced out of his collision with Drakkar Klose.
Fortunately for Klose (12-2-1), who returned to the win column in style at UFC Vegas 51 after over two years away from the sport owing to a weigh-in push by Jeremy Stephens, he’s been able to remain on the Dallas-held card thanks to the willingness of Rafa García to step in on short notice.
García (14-2), a former Combate Americas lightweight champion, was last in action on the same card as Klose. Like his upcoming opponent, “Gifted” had his hand raised, making it consecutive wins inside the Octagon at the expense of Jesse Ronson.
This bout was first reported by Cageside Press’ Alex Behunin.
Ji Yeon Kim vs. Joselyne Edwards – UFC 277 (July 30)
With the withdrawal of Mariya Agapova, women’s flyweight Ji Yeon Kim was left searching for a new opponent for UFC 277, and Joselyne Edwards has answered the call.
Kim (9-5-2) is in need of a return to the win column after losing four of her last five, including three in a row to Alexa Grasso, Molly McCann, and Priscila Cachoiera. Having earned a pair of Fight of the Night bonuses in her past two appearances, the South Korean will look to deliver another entertaining affair, this time with her hand being raised at the end of it.
If Kim is to avoid a four-fight skid, she’ll have to get past replacement foe Edwards (11-4). The Panamanian prospect went 1-2 across her first three UFC outings, being outpointed by Karol Rosa and Jessica-Rose Clark.
Having rebounded in Singapore last month with a unanimous decision victory over Ramona Pascual, “La Pantera” will look to make it back-to-back by adding the name of another Asian fighter to her record in Dallas on July 30.
This 125-pound pairing was first reported by MMA Fighting.
Nate Landwehr vs. Zubaira Tukhugov – UFC Vegas 59 (August 6)
While the UFC has trips to arenas in London, Dallas, San Diego, and Utah lined up in the coming weeks, there is an Apex-held card buried amongst them on August 6, and a pair of featherweights will throw down on it.
Zubaira Tukhugov (20-5-1), well known for his role in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl, has gone 2-1-1 since returning from suspension and a three-year layoff, most recently outpointing the entertaining Ricardo Ramos at UFC 267 last October. The Russian 31-year-old will be targeting back-to-back wins for the first time since 2015 at UFC Vegas 59, where he’s slated to meet Nate Landwehr.
Landwehr (15-4), a former M-1 Global featherweight champion, has gone 2-2 since arriving in the Octagon. After being finished in under a minute by Julian Erosa last February, “The Train” rebounded in style eight months later, submitting Ľudovít Klein with an anaconda choke at UFC Vegas 40.
This featherweight clash was announced by the UFC on Monday.
Gabriel Benítez vs. Charlie Ontiveros – UFC San Diego (August 13)
Out-of-form lightweights Gabriel Benítez and Charlie Ontiveros have been paired up and will head to San Diego for the promotion’s August 13 card.
Benítez (22-10) is a 12-fight UFC veteran, boasting an even 6-6 organizational slate. “Moggly” has struggled inside the cage as of late, losing four of his last five appearances, with his defeats split by a sole victory over Justin Jaynes in 2020.
Having been knocked out by Billy Quarantillo and David Onama in his last two outings, the Mexican is in desperate need of a rebound performance to avoid the first three-fight skid of his career.
Looking to send “Moggly” to that fate will be another man on a two-fight skid. Ontiveros (11-8) has failed to make any sort of impression inside the Octagon. In his short-notice debut, which came as part of Kevin Holland’s epic 2020, “The American Bad Boy” verbally submitted after being the recipient of a slam. His sophomore outing didn’t go much better, with Steve Garcia finishing him in two rounds.
UFC careers will likely be at stake in this matchup, which was confirmed by Ontiveros’ management team, Iridium Sports Agency.
Anthony Hernandez vs. Marc-André Barriault – UFC Fight Night (September 17)
The UFC event scheduled for September 17, which is set to be headlined by bantamweights Cory Sandhagen and Song Yadong, is beginning to take shape. Joining the likes of Giga Chikadze and Chidi Njokuani on the card will be a pair of in-form middleweights.
Anthony Hernandez (9-2) will be in search of a third straight victory when he makes his second appearance of the year. After shocking just about everybody by submitting BJJ great Rodolfo Vieira last February, “Fluffy” returned from a lengthy injury layoff three months ago, outpointing Josh Fremd to make it back-to-back.
In the Californian’s way of another success will be eight-fight UFC vet Marc-André Barriault (14-5). After entering the year on a high following consecutive wins in 2021, the Canadian suffered a setback at the hands of the charging Njokuani. But just two months after that 16-second knockout loss, “Power Bar” immediately returned to form, submitting Jordan Wright in one round.
This middleweight collision was first reported by Eurosport’s Marcel Dorff.
Brendan Allen vs. Krzysztof Jotko – UFC Fight Night (October 1)
Brendan Allen has long been one of the biggest prospects at 185 pounds, but just when he looks like breaking into contention, he suffers a setback. “All In” will look to move closer to a ranking on October 1 when he faces Krzysztof Jotko.
Since a second-round TKO loss to Chris Curtis stalled his rise late last year, Allen (19-5) has rebounded with a pair of wins in 2022, first at light heavyweight against Sam Alvey, and then against fellow up-and-comer Jacob Malkoun at UFC 275 last month. Having returned to form and a win streak, the South Carolina native will be targeting another step up the 185-pound ladder later this year.
If he’s to do so, he’ll have to add the well-known name of Jotko (24-5) to his résumé. The Polish 32-year-old has competed under the UFC banner 16 times since 2013, often teetering just outside of contention. Since falling to the charge of Sean Strickland last May, Jotko has found form again, adding wins over Misha Cirkunov and Gerald Meerschaert to his record.
This bout was reported by Combate’s Raphael Marinho and confirmed by Allen on Instagram.
Who do you envision having their hands raised in these UFC matchups?