Thursday, December 8, 2022

UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (9/19-9/24): Shooto Champ Debuts

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for 19-year-old Shooto champion Yamato Nishikawa and entertaining flyweight Jeff Molina.

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 few 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:

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

  • Chris Daukaus vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik – UFC Vegas 60 (Oct. 1, re-booked for UFC 282 on Dec. 10)
  • Bruno Silva (OUT, Michał Oleksiejczuk IN) vs. Albert Duraev – UFC Vegas 66 (December 17)

For more detailed information on some notable bouts that may have flown under your radar between September 19 and September 24, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Yamato Nishikawa vs. Magomed Mustafaev – UFC 280 (October 22)

Having seen original opponent Jamie Mullarkey withdraw, Magomed Mustafaev will meet a debuting prospect at next month’s UFC 280 pay-per-view.

Mustafaev (14-3) arrived in the UFC in 2015 riding an 11-fight win streak and coming off a victory over Abubakar Nurmagomedov. While the Dagestani opened his account inside the Octagon with consecutive wins, he’s since gone 1-3, with a 2019 victory over Rafael Fiziev splitting losses to Kevin Lee and Brad Riddell. After a string of failed matchups, “Sniper” will be making his first appearance in over two-and-a-half years on October 22.

In his return to action, “Sniper” will be looking to spoil the debut of Shooto Welterweight Champion Yamato Nishikawa (21-3-6). At 19 years old, the Japanese fighter’s signing marks him as the second youngest on the UFC roster, behind only DWCS contract-winner Raul Rosas Jr. Despite his youth, Nishikawa’s outing at UFC 280 will mark his 30th professional contest.

This lightweight bout was first reported by MMA Fight Universe.

Darrick Minner vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke – UFC Vegas 64 (November 5)

The November 5 card will see featherweight action as veteran Darrick Minner squares off against the in-form Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.

Minner (26-13) will be looking to rebound at UFC Vegas 64 having suffered defeats in his last two outings. After consecutive wins against TJ Laramie and Charles Rosa, the 32-year-old had his charge stalled via TKO at the hands of Darren Elkins. Five months later at UFC 269, Minner fell to a losing skid after being outpointed by BJJ specialist Ryan Hall.

Whilst he looks to avoid a three-fight skid later his year, his opponent will be hoping to extend his win streak to three. After suffering a debut loss to Joshua Culibao last May, Nuerdanbieke (38-10) has returned to form with back-to-back triumphs against Sean Soriano and TJ Brown.

This featherweight contest was confirmed by Minner on Instagram.

Jeff Molina vs. Jimmy Flick – UFC Event (January 14)

Flyweight Jimmy Flick will make his return from retirement against Jeff Molina at the UFC event scheduled for January 14.

Flick (16-5) put an end to a one-and-done UFC career with a sudden retirement early last year. The decision came after he’d followed up a victory on DWCS with a memorable flying triangle choke submission win against Cody Durden in his promotional debut at UFC Vegas 14 in 2020. Having re-entered the USADA testing pool earlier this year, “The Brick” is ready to make the walk to the Octagon again in 2023.

Looking to spoil Flick’s comeback will be Molina (11-2). Since a 1-2 start to his professional career, “El Jefe” has won 10 straight, including three victories inside the Octagon. Most recently, the #14-ranked flyweight narrowly outpointed Zhalgas Zhumagulov at UFC Vegas 56.

This flyweight fight was first reported by Eurosport’s Marcel Dorff.

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