Friday, August 19, 2022

UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (4/7-9/7): Chikadze & Imavov Set To Return

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for top-10 featherweight Giga Chikadze, promising middleweight Nassourdine Imavov, DWCS alum Bill Algeo, and Fortis MMA’s in-form strawweight Sam Hughes.

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.

In recent days, a number of huge fights were reported, confirmed. or made official by the UFC and reputable sources. For more information on those matchups, check out the links below:

If you’ve had your fix of big announcements since last Monday, scroll down and check out this week’s matchmaking bulletin, featuring a number of bouts that may have flown under your radar between July 4 and July 9.

Bill Algeo vs. Herbert Burns – UFC Long Island (July 16)

Two featherweights out? No problem, stick their opponents together.

With not long to go until UFC Long Island, two matchups fell apart during the week owing to withdrawals of Billy Quarantillo and Khusein Askhabov. While the absence of “Billy Q” will no doubt be a disappointment ahead of the New York-held UFC Fight Night, it’s not all doom and gloom as only one bout has been lost.

After their opponents were forced off the card, Herbert Burns (11-3), brother of top-five welterweight Gilbert, and his fellow Dana White‘s Contender Series alum Bill Algeo (15-6) have been paired together. While the Brazilian will hope to rebound having had a five-fight win streak snapped by Daniel Pineda last time out, “Señor Perfecto” will be looking to make it back-to-back on July 16 after outpointing Joanderson Brito earlier this year.

This matchup was announced on Algeo’s OnlyFans page.

Nassourdine Imavov vs. Joaquin Buckley – UFC Paris (September 3)

Unsurprisingly joining compatriots Ciryl Gane, Manon Fiorot, and Zarah Fairn at the UFC’s first French-held event, rising middleweight Nassourdine Imavov has a pairing for the September 3 card.

Imavov (11-3), who was born in Dagestan but fights out of Salon-de-Provence, France, will be looking to continue the momentum he gained at last November’s UFC 268 pay-per-view, where he brutally finished Edmen Shahbazyan via TKO to earn a spot in the rankings. After visa issues took away his opportunity to rise further against Kelvin Gastelum earlier this year, “Russian Sniper” will look to remind the division of his presence in Paris.

In Imavov’s way of a victory in front of his home crowd will be Joaquin Buckley (15-4). The momentum Buckley gained from a viral knockout of Impa Kasanganay and finish of Jordan Wright was briefly stalled by Alessio Di Chirico last January. But in three fights since, “New Mansa” has had his hand raised against Antônio Arroyo, Abdul Razak Alhasson, and Albert Duraev.

News of Buckley’s trip to enemy territory was first reported by French outlet La Sueur.

Chad Anheliger vs. Alatengheili – UFC 279 (September 10)

Chad Anheliger’s sophomore Octagon outing is confirmed and will come against Aletengheili at UFC 279 on September 10.

After securing a place on the UFC roster with a split-decision victory over Muin Gafurov last September, Anheliger (12-5) debuted in style earlier this year, finishing Jesse Strader in round three at UFC Vegas 48. “The Monster” will look to make it two in two under the UFC banner and 11 in a row since a 2-4 start as a pro later this year.

In the Canadian’s way of doing so will be Alatengheili (15-8-2). The Chinese bantamweight had good start to Octagon life, winning his opening two appearances. Having had his rise stalled by a defeat to Casey Kenney and draw against Gustavo Lopez, “The Mongolian Knight” found his way back to the win column in emphatic fashion in April this year, finishing Kevin Croom in just 47 seconds.

This 135-pound matchup was first reported by MMA Empire.

Giga Chikadze vs. Sodiq Yusuff – UFC Fight Night (September 17)

A featherweight banger was announced during the UFC Vegas 58 broadcast and features the return of top-10 contender Giga Chikadze.

Chikadze (14-3) was riding high entering 2022 after back-to-back TKO wins against Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza, the latter of whom he defeated in his main event debut, saw him rise closer towards title contention. But after, by his own admission, focusing too much on the champion, “Ninja” was soundly beaten by Calvin Kattar in the opening headliner of this year.

After some recovery time, the Georgian is set to make the walk again at the UFC event scheduled for September 17. In his way of a rebound victory will be top prospect Sodiq Yusuff.

The 29-year-old has gone 5-1 in the UFC since joining the roster through DWCS. His only blemish came against the #5-ranked Arnold Allen last April. Having rebounded and maintained his place at #12 on the 145-pound ladder with a victory over Alex Caceres in March, “Super” Sodiq will look to enter the top 10 for the first time at the expense of Chikadze later this year.

Tanner Boser vs. Rodrigo Nascimento – UFC Fight Night (September 17)

Joining the two featherweight contenders on the September 17 card will be a pair of hard-hitting heavyweights.

Tanner Boser (20-8-1) hasn’t fought since June 2021, but that hasn’t been through lack of trying. After suffering back-to-back decision losses to Andrei Arlovski and Ilir Latifi, “The Bulldozer” rebounded by knocking Ovince Saint Preux out at UFC Vegas 30. His efforts to form a win streak were stalled by constant fight derailments, which has seen three matchups fall through.

Boser will hope to make it to the Octagon this time for a re-arranged clash with Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1).”Yogi Bear” suffered his first first professional loss in October 2020 when he was knocked out by now-top-10 contender Chris Daukaus.

While he did rebound in impressive fashion with a second-round TKO win against Alan Baudot, the result was later overturned when he tested positive for ritalinic acid. He’ll hope to officially return to the win column by getting his hand raised against Canada’s Boser on September 17.

The matchup was first reported by MMA Fighting, and confirmed on Saturday’s UFC broadcast.

Piera Rodriguez vs. Sam Hughes – UFC Fight Night (October 15)

Women’s strawweight Sam Hughes will look to keep her win streak intact when she returns to face Piera Rodriguez at the UFC event on October 15.

Having moved to Fortis MMA earlier this year following an 0-3 start in the UFC, Hughes (7-4) has begun to make the Octagon her home. After outpointing Istela Nunes in April, “Sampage” made it back-to-back triumphs at UFC Vegas 55 in May, dominating Elise Reed en route to a third-round TKO.

If Hughes is to make it three in a row, she’ll have to go through the unbeaten Rodriguez (8-0). After earning a contract on DWCS, “La Fiera” debuted at UFC 273 earlier this year, where she comfortably outpointed the once-highly touted Kay Hansen. The Venezuelan will look to extend her unblemished record and winning start in the Octagon at the expense of Hughes later this year.

This 115-pound bout was first reported by ESPN Deportes’ Carlos Contreras Legaspi.

Who do you envision having their hands raised in these UFC matchups?

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