UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (11/21-12/3): Alhassan & Ricci Return, Five Cancellations

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for middleweight knockout artist Abdul Razak Alhassan and women’s flyweight prospect Tabatha Ricci.

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.

Over the past couple of weeks, some 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 few fights falling through. For those failed pairings and any confirmed replacements, see below:

  • Philipe Lins (OUT, Antonio Trocoli IN) vs. Ovince Saint Preux – UFC 282 (Dec. 10)
  • Ronnie Lawrence (OUT, Steven Koslow IN) vs. Cameron Saaiman – UFC 282 (Dec. 10)
  • Albert Duraev (OUT, Cody Brundage IN) vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk – UFC Vegas 66 (Dec. 17)
  • Brandon Royval (OUT, Alessandro Costa IN) vs. Amir Albazi – UFC Vegas 66 (Dec. 17)
  • Michael Morales (OUT, Bryan Battle IN) vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov – UFC Vegas 66 (Dec. 17)

For detailed information on some other notable fights that may have flown under your radar between November 21 and December 3, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Claudio Ribeiro – UFC Vegas 67 (January 14)

Middleweight powerhouse Abdul Razak Alhassan will look to open his account for 2023 when he welcomes Claudio Ribeiro to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 67 on January 14.

Alhassan (11-5) knocked out the likes of Charlie Ward and Niko Price at the start of his UFC tenure, going 4-1 across his first five outings. Since then, however, the Ghanaian’s power has been largely stifled, with a sole head-kick KO of Alessio Di Chirico marking his only victory in five fights. Most recently, “Judo Thunder” was narrowly outpointed by Joaquin Buckley this past February at UFC Vegas 48.

The 37-year-old Accra native will be in search of a consistent run of wins next year, starting against newcomer Ribeiro (10-2). After winning five consecutive fights via stoppage on the regional scene, the Brazilian made an impact on Dana White‘s Contender Series this past August, earning a contract courtesy of a 25-second KO of Iván Valenzuela.

This middleweight fight was first reported by SUPER LUTAS’ Laerte Viana.

Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci – UFC 285 (March 4)

After having their October 1 matchup canceled on weigh-in day due to an illness on the side of Jessica Penne, the former UFC title challenger and Tabatha Ricci will look to make it to the cage having been rebooked for a bout on March 4, 2023.

Ricci (7-1) has established herself as a prospect to watch at flyweight since joining the UFC from LFA in 2021. While a TKO loss to current #1-ranked contender Manon Fiorot blemished her record for the first time, “Baby Shark” has since recorded consecutive decision victories over Maria Oliveira and Polyana Viana.

Now, the Brazilian has the chance to add a promotional veteran and former title challenger to her résumé. Penne (14-6), the inaugural Invicta FC atomweight champion who fell short of 115-pound gold in the UFC against Joanna Jędrzejczyk, returned after a four-year absence last year, outpointing Lupita Godinez and submitting Karolina Kowalkiewicz. But in her sole 2022 outing, the 39-year-old had her win streak snapped by Emily Ducote at UFC Long Island.

This women’s flyweight contest was first reported by MMA Junkie’s Nolan King.

Sedriques Dumas vs. Abu Azaitar – UFC Fight Night (March 11)

Promising middleweight prospect Sedriques Dumas will make his promotional debut at the UFC event scheduled for March 11, 2023.

Dumas (7-0) was one of the standout performers on this year’s edition of DWCS, earning a contract with a 47-second submission victory over Matěj Peňáz. The result extended the 27-year-old’s undefeated record, with “The Reaper” picking up six victories, five via finish, prior to his opportunity to secure a path into the Octagon.

Having earned a spot in the UFC, Dumas will make the walk for the first-time next year, with Abu Azaitar (14-3-1) set to meet him in the cage. “Captain Morocco” will be making his first appearance in two years in March 2023, with his last outing being a third-round knockout loss to Marc-André Barriault at UFC 260. Prior to that setback, Azaitar had gone 10 fights unbeaten.

This middleweight bout was first reported by MMA Fighting.

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

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