Daniel Rodriguez is out of his UFC 286 fight with Gunnar Nelson on March 18th in London, England for as-yet undisclosed reasons, but the promotion already have a suitable opponent lined up to replace him.
Bryan Barberena has agreed to take the fight against Nelson on a little under three weeks notice as he looks to bounce back from a submission loss to Rafael dos Anjos via rear-naked choke back in December.
Before that the 33-year-old Barberena had been on a three-fight winning streak, during which he’d picked up back-to-back ‘Fight Of The Night’ awards after beating UFC veterans Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler.
Now Barberena goes up against the 34-year-old Nelson, who has only fought once in the past three-and-a-half years, returning in March of 2022 to pick up a unanimous decision win over Takashi Sato. That ended a run of two losses dating back to 2019 when he came out on the wrong end of the scorecards against a future champion in Leon Edwards and future title contender in Gilbert Burns.
Barberena vs. Nelson takes place at a UFC 286 event that will be headlined by a welterweight title rematch between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, while Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev and Marvin Vettori vs. Roman Dolidze also feature on the pay-per-view main card.