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UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (10/2-10/8): Ricky Simón Returns, Brad Katona Gets First Post-TUF Booking, Four Cancellations

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for top 15 bantamweight Ricky Simón and TUF 31 winner Brad Katona.

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, just one big-name fight was reported, with featherweight contender Arnold Allen slated to return for the first time since his loss to Max Holloway earlier this year. At UFC 297 in January, which is expected to take place in Toronto, Canada, “Almighty” will look to bounce back by handing Movsar Evloev his first professional defeat.

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

Kauê Fernandes vs. Marc Diakiese – UFC São Paulo (November 4)Kyung Ho Kang vs. John Castañeda – UFC 295 (November 11)Jesse Butler vs. Jeka Saragih – UFC Vegas 82 (November 18)Wellington Turman vs. Jared Gooden – UFC Austin (December 2)Steve Garcia Jr. vs. Melquizael Costa – UFC Austin (December 2)Yana Santos vs. Norma Dumont – UFC Vegas 83 (January 13)Preston Parsons vs. Bassil Hafez – UFC Vegas 83 (January 13)Marcus McGhee vs. Gastón Bolaños – UFC Vegas 83 (January 13)

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:

Marc-André Barriault (OUT, Andre Petroski IN) vs. Michel Pereira – UFC Vegas 81 (October 14)Montel Jackson (OUT, Alatengheili IN) vs. Chris Gutiérrez – UFC Vegas 81 (October 14)Nassourdine Imavov (OUT, Warlley Alves IN) vs. Ikram Aliskerov – UFC 294 (October 21)Daniel Santos (OUT) vs. Daniel Marcos – UFC São Paulo (November 4)

And for more detailed information on two notable fights that may have flown under your radar between October 2 and October 8, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Ricky Simón vs. Mario Bautista – UFC Vegas 83 (January 13)

Ranked bantamweight Ricky Simón will look to kick off next year in style when he returns at 2024’s very first UFC event on January 13.

Simón (20-4) entered this year riding a strong five-fight win streak. The final two wins on that run over Raphael Assunção and Jack Shore saw the 31-year-old Oregon native climb inside the top 10 at 135 pounds. But in his main event debut this past April, he fell short of title contention at the hands of Song Yadong.

Having slipped to #12 on the ladder, Simón will next fight down the pecking order against the dangerous Mario Bautista (13-2). The former LFA fighter has risen to prominence since going 2-2 in his first four UFC outings. At UFC 292 in August, he extended an impressive streak of victories to five by outpointing Da’Mon Blackshear. Having missed out on a booked fight against Cody Garbrandt, Bautista will hope to make the most of the opportunity on January 13.

This bantamweight fight was announced by Bautista’s management team, Iridium Sports Agency.

🚨 #TeamIridium News 🚨

Our man @Bautista_mma goes for his 6th straight @ufc victory vs. Ricky Simon on Jan. 13 ✍🏽 #TheDarkside

— IridiumSportsAgency (@TeamIridiumISA) October 8, 2023

Brad Katona vs. Garrett Armfield – UFC 297 (January 20)

The Ultimate Fighter 31 bantamweight tournament winner Brad Katona will make the walk for the first time since his triumph on the show at UFC 297 early next year.

Katona (13-2) became the first two-time TUF winner in history at UFC 292 this past August, where he outpointed Cory Gibson in a memorable Fight of the Night war. Having previously gone unbeaten en route to title success under the Brave CF banner, Katona’s victory in Boston marked his fifth straight since departing the UFC on the back of a two-fight skid in 2020.

Looking to spoil the Canadian’s return to the Octagon will be Garrett Armfield (9-3). The 26-year-old American had a difficult start to life on MMA’s biggest stage, suffering a submission loss to David Onama on debut last July. But at UFC Singapore a few weeks back, Armfield bounced back in style by knocking out Toshiomo Kazama inside one round.

This bantamweight bout was first reported by Eurosport Nederland’s Marcel Dorff.


TUF 27 & TUF 31 winner Brad Katona takes on Garrett Armfield at #UFC297 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (January 20th)

— Marcel Dorff 🇳🇱🇮🇩 (@BigMarcel24) October 6, 2023

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