Diego Lopes will step in on short notice to face Movsar Evloev at UFC 288 this Saturday, MMA Fighting has confirmed. ESPN Deportes was first to report the news that Bryce Mitchell had been forced to withdraw from his featherweight matchup with Evloev and Lopes will take his place. No reason for Mitchell’s withdrawal has been given.
Evloev (16-0) was originally scheduled to fight Jonathan Pearce on the card, but stepped up as a replacement for Mitchell when he withdrew due to injury back at UFC Vegas 64 last November. Since joining the UFC roster, he has won all six of his fights – including decision wins over Dan Ige and Hakeem Dawodu – and is looking for another impressive showing against Lopes.
Lopes (20-5) most recently fought in Lux Fight League back in November, where he defeated Angel Rodriguez via second round TKO; it was his ninth win in 11 fights. His career includes an appearance on Dana White Contender Series where he lost a unanimous decision to Joanderson Brito in August 2019. Now on short notice, he’ll have little time to prepare before taking on one of the top featherweights ranked by promotion officials heading into 2021 season.
The matchup will be part of what promises to be an exciting night of action coming out of Houston’s Toyota Center this weekend featuring lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov defending against interim titleholder Justin Gaethje headlining the evening’s event alongside strong co-main featuring Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush welterweight bout and Charlotte Vance Welterweight Bout between Jack Hermansson & Edmen Shahbazyan amongst many other intriguing matchups throughout its 12-fight PPV card lineup .
It remains unclear who or when Mitchell’s next opponent may ultimately be but we can only hope that it soon serves as redemption following loss at Vegas 64 earlier last year statement from Team Evans about this change Mike Heck contributed towards reporting along with MMA fighting