Thursday, September 29, 2022

UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (8/22-8/27): Shahbazyan Returns

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for returning middleweight prospect Edmen Shahbazyan, heavyweight veteran Aleksei Oleinik, City Kickboxing product Carlos Ulberg, and ranked bantamweight Jack Shore.

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 couple of big-name fights were reported, confirmed, or made official by the UFC and reputable sources. For more information on those matchups, check out the links below:

In what was a busy week of matchmaking for the MMA leader, a number of lower-profile pairings were announced. For all of those, check out this week’s quick hits below:

  • William Gomis vs. Jarno Errens – UFC Paris (September 3)
  • Maxim Grishin vs. Phillipe Lins – UFC Vegas 61 (October 1)
  • Magomed Mustafaev vs. Jamie Mullarkey – UFC 280 (October 22)
  • Jake Hadley vs. Carlos Candelario – UFC Fight Night (November 5)
  • Miranda Maverick vs. Shanna Young – UFC Fight Night (November 5)
  • Vanessa Demopoulos vs. Maria Oliveira – UFC Fight Night (November 19)
  • Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs. Charles Johnson – UFC Fight Night (November 19)
  • Cody Brundage vs. Rodolfo Vieira – UFC Fight Night (November 19)
  • Clay Guida vs. Scott Holtzman – UFC Fight Night (December 3)
  • Angela Hill vs. Emily Ducote – UFC Fight Night (December 3)
  • Julian Marquez vs. Deron Winn – UFC Fight Night (December 17)
  • Sergey Morozov vs. Journey Newson – UFC Fight Night (December 17)
  • Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jamal Pogues – UFC Fight Night (December 17)

But it wasn’t all positive, with a number of fights falling through or being adjusted in recent days. For those failed pairings and any confirmed replacements, see the list below:

  • Taylor Lapilus (OUT, Cristian Quiñónez IN) vs. Khalid Taha – UFC Paris (September 3)
  • Zarah Fairn (OUT, Stephanie Egger IN) vs. Ailín Pérez – UFC Paris (September 3)
  • Danny Henry (OUT) vs. Ricardo Ramos – UFC Paris (September 3)
  • Sijara Eubanks (OUT) vs. Maryna Moroz – UFC Vegas 60 (September 17)

For more detailed information on some notable bouts that may have flown under your radar between August 22 and August 27, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Ilir Latifi – UFC Vegas 61 (October 1)

Veteran heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik will make the walk to the Octagon for the 17th time at UFC Vegas 61 on October 1, where he’ll meet a man he’s stared across from before.

Oleinik (60-16-1), who’s remarkably fought 77 times as a professional, is still going strong at the age of 45. Following a trio of losses to Derrick Lewis, Chris Daukaus, and Sergey Spivak, the Russian returned to the win column at UFC 273 this past April, finishing Jared Vanderaa with a scarf hold submission.

Looking to stop Oleinik from securing a win streak will be Ilir Latifi (15-8). The former light heavyweight contender was last in action in June 2021, when he narrowly outpointed Tanner Boser. Like his upcoming opponent, “The Sledgehammer” had lost his previous three outings.

These two were scheduled to collide at UFC Columbus in March, but Latifi was forced to withdraw through illness on fight day. This re-arranged heavyweight matchup was first reported by MMA Fight Universe.

Carlos Ulberg vs. Nicolae Negumereanu – UFC 281 (November 12)

As well as Dan Hooker joining the City Kickboxing entourage heading to New York for UFC 281, light heavyweight Carlos Ulberg has also been booked for the event.

Ulberg (5-1) broke onto the scene with a first-round knockout win on Dana White‘s Contender Series. On debut four months later, “Black Jag” played his part in a FOTN with Kennedy Nzechukwu, ultimately falling on the receiving end of a KO. After rebounding with a composed display against Fabio Cherant this past February, Ulberg returned to finishing ways at UFC Vegas 57, stopping Tafon Nchukwi in one round.

The New Zealander will look to make it three in a row against Nicolae Negumereanu (13-1). The 27-year-old Romanian has won four consecutive bouts since a debut loss to Saparbek Safarov, most recently snapping Ihor Potieria’s 15-fight MMA win streak with a second-round TKO at UFC 277.

This light heavyweight bout was first reported by NZ Herald’s Christopher Reive.

Jack Shore vs. Kyler Phillips – UFC Fight Night (November 19)

Jack Shore will look to rebound from his first loss as a mixed martial artist when he meets Kyler Phillips at the November 19 UFC event.

Shore (16-1) finally secured a long-awaited place in the bantamweight top 15 earlier this year following a win over Timur Valiev at UFC London — a result that marked his fifth straight triumph in the Octagon. But the Welshman fell short of moving closer to the top 10 last month, suffering a submission defeat to Ricky Simón at UFC Long Island.

Phillips (10-2), on the other hand, will be entering the contest off the back of a victory, having submitted Marcelo Rojo at UFC 271. The win came seven months after “Matrix” controversially had the first blemish added to his promotional slate against Raulian Paiva. Prior to that setback, Phillips defeated current top-10 contender Song Yadong.

This bantamweight fight was announced by Phillips’ management team, Iridium Sports Agency.

Muslim Salikhov vs. André Fialho – UFC Fight Night (November 19)

Striking fans could be in for a treat on November 19 when André Fialho collides with Muslim Salikhov.

Salikhov (18-3) was recently handed his first defeat since 2017. After amassing a five-fight win streak, which included wins against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Francisco Trinaldo, “King of Kung Fu” saw his fine form end at the hands of Li Jingliang, who knocked the Dagestani out at UFC Long Island last month.

Looking to send Salikhov on a skid, and avoid one of his own, will be former UAE Warriors champion Fialho (16-5). Despite only making his UFC debut this year, the Portuguese welterweight has already competed four times. After impressing in defeat against Michel Pereira, Fialho won back-to-back bouts, stopping Miguel Baeza and Cameron VanCamp. That fairytale start came to an end at UFC 275, with Jake Matthews knocking Fialho out.

This welterweight collision was first reported by Full Violence on Twitter.

Michael Johnson vs. Marc Diakiese – UFC Fight Night (December 3)

Michael Johnson will look to end the winning run of the new and improved Marc Diakiese when they meet at the UFC Fight Night scheduled for December 3.

Diakiese (16-5) built a reputation as a flashy and exciting striker but has since developed a smothering wrestling game following consecutive losses to Rafael Fiziev and Rafael Alves. Having rebounded with a unanimous decision success against Viacheslav Borschev in March, “Bonecrusher” made it two in a row with a victory over Damir Hadžović in front of a home crowd last month.

Looking to halt the Congolese-born Englishman in his tracks will be Johnson (20-18), a 26-fight UFC vet who boasts wins over Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, and Tony Ferguson. “The Menace” bounced back from a four-fight losing run earlier this year, knocking Alan Patrick out in style at UFC Vegas 54. But he failed to make it back-to-back wins, falling on the wrong end of a split decision against Jamie Mullarkey at UFC Vegas 58.

This lightweight scrap was first reported by Al Zullino.

Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Dalcha Lungiambula – UFC 282 (December 10)

Edmen Shahbazyan will return at UFC 282 on December 10 for what will be his first fight in 13 months.

Shahbazyan (11-3) entered 2020 as one of the most highly touted prospects in the promotion and with his first UFC main event booked. But against Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 5, “The Golden Boy” suffered his first professional setback, falling via TKO in round three. After Jack Hermansson sent him on a skid, Shahbazyan’s woes were compounded by the then-unranked Nassourdine Imavov at UFC 268, with some brutal elbows forcing a second-round stoppage.

Looking to return to winning ways and begin building back the hype he had two years ago, Shahbazyan has made changes, swapping Glendale Fighting Club for Las Vegas’ Xtreme Couture gym. He’ll hope that switch will guide him to victory against Dalcha Lungiambula (11-5). “Champion” is on a three-fight skid of his own, with a knockout loss to Punahele Soriano last month following defeats to Marc-André Barriault and Cody Brundage.

This middleweight contest was first reported by Eurosport’s Marcel Dorff.

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

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