Monday, September 26, 2022

UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (8/8-8/13): Garbrandt Has Return Set

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, Dagestani welterweight prospect Abubakar Nurmagomedov, entertaining featherweight Charles Jourdain, and veteran 170lber Tim Means.

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:

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:

  • Christos Giagos (OUT through injury) vs. Benoît Saint-Denis – UFC Paris (September 3)
  • Cédric Doumbé vs. Darian Weeks (not eligible to face Doumbé) – UFC Paris (September 3)
  • Miguel Baeza (OUT, Darian Weeks IN) vs. Yohan Lainesse – UFC 279 (September 10)
  • Lando Vannata (OUT through injury) vs. Andre Fili – UFC Vegas 60 (September 17)

For information on a host of bouts that may have flown under your radar between August 8 and August 13, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Charles Jourdain vs. Nathaniel Wood – UFC Paris (September 3)

While the UFC’s French debut has taken some hits in recent days with the cancelation of Doumbé and Saint-Denis’ hometown fights, it has received the addition of a sure-fire banger at 145 pounds.

Montreal, Quebec, native Charles Jourdain (13-5-1) is simply not in boring fights. And it’s that level of entertainment, coupled with a pair of victories over Andre Ewell and Lando Vannata, that brought “Air” an opportunity to break into the rankings last time out against Shane Burgos. Having narrowly fallen short on the scorecards, Jourdain will look to make a quick rebound on September 3.

And in another example of what appears to be fantastic matchmaking, at least on paper, the Canadian will head to Paris to face Nathaniel Wood (18-5). After a rough near-two-year layoff that was full of ups and downs, “The Prospect” finally made his comeback at UFC London last month, putting on a fantastic display in his featherweight debut. He’ll look to make it two from two in the division by adding the name of fan favorite Jourdain to his record.

This blockbuster featherweight bout was first reported by Al Zullino.

Ricardo Ramos vs. Danny Henry – UFC Paris (September 3)

This week also saw another pair of featherweights announced for the UFC’s first trip to France.

All eyes will certainly be on Ricardo Ramos (16-4) on September 3 as he returns to the Octagon after knocking Danny Chavez out with a memorable spinning back elbow at UFC Austin in June. Having exchanged wins and losses across his last four outings, “Carcacinha” will be searching for his first win streak since 2019 at UFC Paris.

If the Brazilian is to do so, he’ll have to spoil the comeback of Danny Henry (12-4). The 34-year-old Scotsman, who boasts a victory over Hakeem Dawodu, hasn’t been in action since a first-round submission loss to Makwan Amirkhani in 2020. Having met a similar fate in his previous outing against Dan Ige, “The Hatchet” will look to avoid a three-fight skid next month.

This featherweight bout was confirmed by Ramos’ management team, Paradigm Sports.

Tony Gravely vs. Javid Basharat – UFC Vegas 60 (September 17)

Apex cards may be few and far between nowadays, but the promotion is set to return to home base on September 17, with bantamweights Tony Gravely and Javid Basharat among those slated to be in action.

Adding to a 135-pound division that is already stacked with prospects, unbeaten 26-year-old Basharat (12-0) made his presence known on debut in March by outpointing Trevin Jones. “The Snow Leopard” will look to extend his UFC slate next month when he meets a fellow Dana White‘s Contender Series alum.

Since earning a contract in 2019, Gravely (23-7) has gone 4-2 inside the Octagon. After a TKO loss to Nate Maness last year left him even on MMA’s biggest stage, the 30-year-old American has returned to a win streak with a pair of triumphs over Saimon Oliveira and Johnny Muñoz Jr. in 2022.

This bantamweight fight was first reported by MMA Junkie’s Farah Hannoun.

Cody Garbrandt vs. Rani Yahya – UFC Fight Night (October 1)

After failing to make the Octagon at UFC Vegas 58 last month, Cody Garbrandt and Rani Yahya’s matchup has been kept together and has been re-arranged for the October 1 event.

The bout will mark the first outing of 2022 for both men. Former UFC bantamweight champion Garbrandt (12-5) will be returning to action off the back of a failed drop to flyweight, with recent interim title challenger Kai Kara-France spoiling his plan to rebound in fresh pastures.

Now 1-5 across his last six, “No Love” is in desperate need of having his hand raised. Fortunately for the American, he’ll go into his next outing knowing that another knockout loss is unlikely.

In 40 professional fights, Yahya (28-10-1) hasn’t recorded a single KO. While Garbrandt’s chin may not be threatened, he certainly won’t be safe from finishing moves, with the Brazilian boasting 21 submission wins.

This re-scheduled bout was first reported by MMA Mania’s Alex Behunin.

Raoni Barcelos vs. Trevin Jones – UFC Fight Night (October 1)

Bantamweight veteran Raoni Barcelos will look to end his poor run of form having been booked for his second fight of 2022.

Barcelos (16-3), a former RFA and Shoot Brazil featherweight champion, had a 5-0 start in the UFC that included victories over Said Nurmagomedov and Khalid Taha. But his nine-fight professional win streak came to an end via majority decision against Timur Valiev last June. Having been outpointed once again at UFC 270 in January, this time against Victor Henry, Barcelos is in need of a victory to avoid a three-fight skid.

He’ll look to secure one by sending Trevin Jones (13-8) to that fate instead. “5 Star” has fallen to defeats against Javid Basharat and Saidyokub Kakhramonov in his last two outings, leaving him with a negative 1-2 promotional record — with an original victory over Valiev overturned to a no contest.

This bantamweight matchup was first reported by Eurosport’s Marcel Dorff.

Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev – UFC 280 (October 22)

It’ll be Russia versus Russia on October 20 as welterweight prospects Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev collide.

Nurmagomedov (16-3-1), cousin of all-time MMA great Khabib, hasn’t been in action for well over a year, last making the walk in March 2021. At UFC 260, the Dagestani 32-year-old rebounded from a debut submission loss to David Zawada by outpointing Jared Gordon. Having had bouts against Daniel Rodriguez and Phillip Rowe fall through since, Nurmagomedov will look to turn his UFC slate positive on October 22.

But looking to spoil those plans will be Omargadzhiev (13-1). After an impressive first-round kneebar submission against Jansey Silva on DWCS last year, the Moscow native arrived in the Octagon with a perfect professional record. But his résumé was blemished on debut courtesy of fellow 2021 DWCS graduate Caio Borralho. He’ll be targeting his first victory on the sport’s biggest stage at UFC 280.

This welterweight bout was first reported by Red Fury MMA.

Tim Means vs. Max Griffin – UFC Fight Night (October 29)

A week later, there’ll be more action at 170 pounds, this time with welterweight mainstays Tim Means and Max Griffin.

Means (32-13-1) has shown no signs of slowing down despite edging closer to the age of 40. Prior to a submission loss against Kevin Holland last time out, “The Dirty Bird” had defeated Laureano Staropoli, Mike Perry, and Nicolas Dalby for a three-fight win streak. He’ll look to return to that form later this year.

Griffin (18-8) will also be looking to return to winning ways having had a three-fight win streak of his own snapped last time out. After beating Ramiz Brahimaj, Song Kenan, and Carlos Condit consecutively, “Pain” fell on the wrong side of a split decision verdict against Neil Magny at UFC Columbus this past March.

This welterweight scrap was first reported by MMA Junkie’s Farah Hannoun.

Kleydson Rodrigues vs. Vinicius Salvador – UFC Fight Night (October 29)

Another top performer from last year’s edition of DWCS is also set to be in action later this year, with Vinicius Salvador scheduled to make his UFC debut against Kleydson Rodrigues on October 29.

Salvador (14-4), an exciting flyweight prospect fighting out of Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil, earned an Octagon contract with a second-round knockout of Shannon Ross. With the victory, “Fenômeno” extended his win streak to four and maintained his 100% finishing rate with his 13th KO/TKO.

The Brazilian will be looking to avoid the fate of his compatriot Rodrigues (7-2), who fell short on debut following a contract-earning DWCS outing. After making it six in a row with a decision win against Santo Curatolo, “KR” fellow the wrong side of a split verdict against CJ Vergara at UFC 274 this past May.

Both men will be looking to secure their first UFC wins in this October 29 matchup, which was first reported by Combate’s Raphael Marinho.

Roman Dolidze vs. Phil Hawes – UFC Fight Night (October 29)

Also heading towards a meeting at the October 29 UFC Fight Night will be middleweights Roman Dolidze and Phil Hawes.

Dolidze (10-1) will be joining fellow Georgian standout Ilia Topuria on the card. The 34-year-old former WWFC light heavyweight champion will be looking to carry the momentum from a rapid first-round KO of Kyle Daukaus at UFC Austin into the October event. With that bonus-worthy performance, Dolidze extended his promotional record to 4-1, with a decision setback against Trevin Giles marking his only Octagon setback.

But he’ll be in for a tough assignment next time out, with the imposing Hawes (12-3) in his way of a two-fight win streak. “No Hype” had a seven-fight win streak snapped last year, becoming the first victim of Chris Curtis’ fast start in the UFC.

Having rebounded with a dominant display against Deron Winn, Hawes will look to continue that form, which brought him wins over Daukaus, Nassourdine Imavov, and Jacob Malkoun early in his UFC tenure.

This matchup was first reported by Giorgi Kokiashvili.

Nate Maness vs. Tagir Ulanbekov – UFC Fight Night (November 5)

Following a tough assignment last time out, Nate Maness will be dropping to 125 pounds at the November 5 UFC event.

Maness (14-2) had a perfect 3-0 start inside the Octagon, submitting Luke Sanders in a 140-pound catchweight bout and knocking Tony Gravely out at bantamweight after outpounting Johnny Muñoz Jr. at featherweight on debut. But in his fourth outing under the UFC banner, “Mayhem” was tasked with blemishing the record of Umar Nurmagomedov. While he forced the Russian to the scorecards for the first time in the UFC, Maness ultimately fell short.

Now, marking a fourth weight in five fights, Maness is set to make his flyweight debut against Tagir Ulanbekov (13-2). Like his last opponent, the American will be fighting a man who boasts the brain of Khabib in their corner. And like Maness, Ulanbekov will be looking to rebound on November 5 having had a five-fight win streak snapped by Tim Elliott at UFC 272 in March.

This flyweight clash was first reported by James Lynch.

Polyana Viana vs. Jinh Yu Frey – UFC Fight Night (November 5)

A pair of women’s strawweights will look to record their first victories of 2022 when they meet at the UFC’s November 5 event.

Polyana Viana (12-5) recently had her two-fight win streak snapped. After back-to-back first-round armbar submission triumphs over Emily Whitmire and Mallory Martin, “Dama de Ferro” was outpointed by Tabatha Ricci at UFC Vegas 55 in May.

In a similar situation is former Invicta FC atomweight titleholder Jinh Yu Frey (11-7). Following consecutive victories over Gloria de Paula and Ashley Yoder in 2021, the 37-year-old Korean-American failed to carry that form into this year, falling to defeat against Vanessa Demopoulos at UFC Vegas 57 in June.

This 115-pound clash was first reported by Eurosport’s Marcel Dorff.

Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus – UFC Fight Night (December 3)

A pair of middleweights will look to re-enter the win column when they collide on December 3.

Eryk Anders (14-7), a 14-fight UFC veteran who’s competed in the Octagon since 2017, has had his hand raised just once in his last five outings, with a victory over Darren Stewart followed by consecutive setbacks against André Muniz and Junyong Park.

On a similarly inconsistent run is Kyle Daukaus (11-3). Since a clash of heads saw his subsequent submission of Kevin Holland rendered obsolete last October, “The D’Arce Knight” has gone 1-1, with a submission win against Jamie Pickett followed by a devastating first-round knockout loss to Roman Dolidze at UFC Austin.

Both men will be searching for rebound performances in this December 3 matchup, which was announced by Anders’ management team, Iridium Sports Agency.

Who do you envision having their hand raised in these UFC bouts?

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