Three weeks ahead of UFC 170, injuries are taking a toll on the preliminary card. Meanwhile, the UFC on FOX 11 and UFC 172 main cards have filled out and Legacy FC’s new featherweight champion is set to defend his title.
A lightweight match between Rustam Khabilov and Rafael Dos Anjos was scrapped after Khabilov (17-1) suffered an undisclosed injury. The Russian fighter is undefeated in two UFC fights, including a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal last November.
A hand injury is forcing bantamweight Francisco Rivera to bow out of his match with Raphael Assuncao. Rivera (10-2) first made the announcement via Twitter.
Sorry guys busted my hand again.. Won’t be fighting @ufc 170..
— FranCisco Rivera (@CiscoRiveraUFC) February 3, 2014
Rivera is riding a five match winning streak that dates back to December 2011. Despite dropping a weight class and serving a suspension for taking a banned substance, ‘Cisco’ was looking to make a statement against the No. 7 ranked bantamweight in the UFC. Assuncao’s replacement opponent, if any, has not been announced.
UFC on FOX 11:
Dos Anjos jumps from fighting one Russian to another as he verbally agreed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Dating back to his Russian Pankration days, Nurmagomedov (21-0) has never lost a professional fight. His unanimous decision victory over Pat Healy at UFC 165 furthered his sprouting legacy and made finding an opponent that much harder.
Dos Anjos (20-6), the No. 6 ranked lightweight, is riding his longest winning streak since 2008. A victory over one of MMA’s top prospects would catapult Dos Anjos into top contender status.
Donald Cerrone, whose last loss came to Dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 27, will take on Edson Barboza in a lightweight bout.
Cerrone (22-6) has won his last two fights and claims that he wants at least four more before the end of the year. His most recent win over Adriano Martins earned the ‘Cowboy’ Knockout of the Night honors.
Barboza (13-1) is making the biggest push of his career, winning three out of four while compiling a 7-1 UFC record. With a victory, Barboza will most likely crack the UFC top ten rankings for the first time in his career.
Looking to bounce back from consecutive losses, Healy (31-17) has agreed to fight Masvidal. In April 2013, Healy had a submission win overturned when he tested positive for marijuana.
After transitioning from Strikeforce to the UFC, Masvidal (25-8) won his first two decision before losing a unanimous decision to Khabilov at UFC: Fight for the Troops 3.
Brad Tavares and Yoel Romero round out UFC on FOX 11 fight announcements. Tavares (12-1) has lost only once in the last seven years. A member of The Ultimate Fighter 11, Tavares sits as the No. 13 ranked middleweight.
Similarly, Romero (7-1) has been dominant in the UFC. His UFC Fight Night 35 victory over Derek Brunson squeezed Romero into the newly-adjusted UFC rankings for the first time.
Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold fights Tim Boetsch, presumably on the event’s main card. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 166 before an injury forced Rockhold out.
After an underwhelming UFC debut against Vitor Belfort, Rockhold (11-2) found his championship form and knocked out Costas Philippou in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 35 main event last month.
Boetsch (17-6) snapped a two-fight skid last October with a split decision victory over C.B. Dollaway. A victory would sneak Boetsch back into top ten middleweight rankings.
No. 2 ranked flyweight Joseph Benavidez looks to solidify his top contender status as he fights Timothy Elliott.
Benavidez looks to get back on the winning track after losing his title shot to Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Fox 9 last December. The Mexican-American fighter has gone 4-2 since dropping to the flyweight division, his only losses coming to Johnson.
Elliott (10-4-1) is also looking to bounce back from a loss. He lost a unanimous decision to Ali Bagautinov at UFC 167. The No. 8 ranked flyweight would see a considerable jump in the rankings with an upset.
Legacy FC 29:
In the first featherweight title defense, former WEC and UFC member Leonard Garcia faces Shane Howell. Legacy FC 29 takes place March 21 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Okla.
Garcia (18-11-1) won the featherweight belt with a victory over Kevin Aguilar at Legacy FC 26. Since signing with the Texas-based promotion last year, Garcia has won three consecutive fights for the first time since 2006.
Despite not fighting since 2012, Howell (13-7) is getting a title shot in his Legacy FC debut. He left the sport on a six-match winning streak, including five coming by way of submission or TKO.
UFC Fight Night 38:
A bout reported by MMAJunkie has been confirmed as Diego Brandao (18-9) takes on Will Chope (19-6) at UFC Fight Night 38 in Brazil. Brandao last took on Dustin Poirier at UFC 168 and lost via TKO. Chpe suffered a similar fate just a week later, getting put away by Max Holloway in Singapore on the first card of the year.
For the latest fight announcements visit SciFighting.com