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UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (5/15-5/20): Kennedy Nzechukwu Gets Ranked Opponent, Two Cancelations

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for Kennedy Nzechukwu, Bryan Barberena, and Jimmy Crute.

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.

In recent days, multiple 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:

  • Jared Gordon vs. Jim Miller – UFC Vegas 74 (June 3)
  • Kevin Lee vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov – UFC Vegas 76 (July 1)
  • André Muniz vs. Paul Craig – UFC London (July 22)
  • Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Jan Błachowicz vs. Alex Pereira – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Stephen Thompson vs. Michel Pereira – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Paulo Costa vs. Ikram Aliskerov – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Holland – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green – UFC 291 (July 29)
  • Virna Jandiroba vs. Tatiana Suarez – UFC Event TBA (August 5)
  • Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley – UFC 292 (August 19)
  • Zhang Weili vs. Amanda Lemos – UFC 292 (August 19)

It was a busy week overall for fight announcements, with a number of lower-profile matchups coming together. For some of those, check out this week’s quick hits:

  • Pat Sabatini vs. Lucas Almeida – UFC Vegas 75 (June 17)
  • Felipe Bunes vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov – UFC Vegas 75 (June 17)
  • Jamall Emmers vs. Jack Jenkins – UFC Jacksonville (June 24)
  • Vinc Pichel vs. Benoît Saint-Denis – UFC Vegas 76 (July 1)
  • Albert Duraev vs. Junyong Park – UFC Vegas 77 (July 15)
  • Istela Nunes vs. Viktoriia Dudakova – UFC Vegas 77 (July 15)
  • Evan Elder vs. Genaro Valdez – UFC Vegas 77 (July 15)
  • Tanner Boser vs. Aleksa Camur – UFC Event TBA (August 5)
  • Montserrat Conejo Ruiz vs. Jaqueline Amorim – UFC Vegas 78 (August 12)
  • Rinya Nakamura vs. Fernie Garcia – UFC Event TBA (August 26)

But it wasn’t all positive, with some fights falling through or being adjusted in recent days. For those failed pairings and any confirmed replacements, see the list below:

  • Ľudovít Klein (OUT, Jared Gordon IN) vs. Jim Miller – UFC Vegas 74 (June 3)
  • Hakeem Dawodu vs. Lucas Almeida – UFC 289 (June 10)

And for more detailed information on some notable fights that may have flown under your radar between May 15 and May 20, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield – UFC 290 (July 8)

After fighting to a majority draw this past February at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, light heavyweights Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield will run it back at the International Fight Week pay-per-view on July 8.

Prior to his meeting with Menifield (13-3-1), the #14-ranked Crute (12-3-1) had suffered consecutive stoppage losses to Anthony Smith and Jamahal Hill. “Atomic,” meanwhile, was coming off an opposite streak, recording back-to-back victories over Askar Mozharov and Misha Cirkunov.

This light heavyweight bout was first reported by SkinnyBets.

Bryan Barberena vs. Makhmud Muradov – UFC London (July 22)

Bryan Barberena will look to right the wrongs from his fight in London this past March with a return to England’s capital this summer.

Barberena (18-10) crossed the Atlantic on short notice to face Gunnar Nelson at UFC 286, replacing Daniel Rodriguez. “Bam Bam” was looking to rebound after having a three-fight winning run snapped by Rafael dos Anjos last December, but fell to the same submission fate against Iceland’s “Gunni.”

In his pursuit of better memories in his second UK trip of the year, Barberena will move to middleweight for the first time in his career to face Makhmud Muradov (25-8). The Tajik-born Uzbek has lost consecutive fights to Gerald Meerschaert and Caio Borralho since a 3-0 start in the UFC, which saw him collect performance bonuses for knockout victories over Trevor Smith and Andrew Sanchez.

This middleweight matchup was announced by Muradov on social media.

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A post shared by Makhmud Muradov (@makhmud_muradov)

Dustin Jacoby vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu – UFC Event TBA (August 5)

Following a standout performance at this month’s pay-per-view event, Kennedy Nzechukwu has earned a shot at the rankings.

Nzechukwu (12-3) has had his hand raised three times in a row since suffering defeats to Da Woon Jung and Nicolae Negumereanu. After knockouts of Karl Roberson and Ion Cuțelaba, “African Savage” choked out Devin Clark in his most recent outing at UFC 288 on May 6.

Now, the Nigerian will look to burst into contention at the expense of Dustin Jacoby (18-7-1). The #15-ranked light heavyweight extended his unbeaten run in MMA to nine through his first seven UFC fights, a period that included wins over Darren Stewart and Michał Oleksiejczuk. But his rise up the ladder has been stalled by consecutive decision defeats at the hands of Khalil Rountree Jr. and the surging Azamat Murzakanov.

This light heavyweight fight was first reported by MMA Junkie’s Nolan King.

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