Movsar Evloev Now Fights Diego Lopes At UFC 288 After Bryce Mitchell Pulls Out

Bryce Mitchell is out of his fight with Movsar Evloev at UFC 288 on Saturday night in New Jersey after suffering a back injury in training.

The UFC have now swiftly moved to bring in a short-notice replacement in Diego Lopes, who will now make his UFC debut on just five days notice against one of the toughest fighters in the featherweight division.

The 28-year-old Lopes holds a 20-5 career record and actually fought in Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2021, but lost by unanimous technical decision to Joanderson Brito.

At the time that would end a seven-fight winning streak for Lopes, and he would go on to lose his next fight as well, but has since rebounded with back-to-back wins via strikes on the regional circuit.

Now he faces a daunting challenge going up up against the undefeated Evloev, who is 16-0 in his career, including six win in a row since joining the UFC in 2019.

Along the way he’s beaten the likes of Nik Lentz, Hakeen Dawodu and most recently Dan Ige and had been hoping that a win over Bryce Mitchell could have propelled him higher than his current 10th place in the featherweight rankings.

Unfortunately the late fight-change does weaken the main card of the UFC 288 PPV line-up, which remains headlined by a bantamweight title showdown between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, while Belal Muhammad fights Gilbert Burns in the co-main event.

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