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UFC Matchmaking Bulletin (9/18-9/24): Kelvin Gastelum Gets Top 10 Opponent For Welterweight Return, Four Cancellations

MMA News has you covered with this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin, featuring fights for Kelvin Gastelum and Khalil Rountree Jr.

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, a number of 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:

Edgar Cháirez vs. Daniel Lacerda – UFC Vegas 81 (October 14)Jiří Procházka vs. Alex Pereira – UFC 295 (November 11)Jared Cannonier vs. Roman Dolidze – UFC Fight Night (December 2)Rob Font vs. Deiveson Figueiredo – UFC Fight Night (December 2)Miesha Tate vs. Julia Avila – UFC Fight Night (December 2)Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington – UFC 296 (December 16)Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval – UFC 296 (December 16)Vicente Luque vs. Ian Machado Garry – UFC 296 (December 16)Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett – UFC 296 (December 16)Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Stephen Thompson – UFC 296 (December 16)

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:

Lucas Alexander vs. David Onama – UFC São Paulo (November 4)Matt Frevola vs. Benoît Saint-Denis – UFC 295 (November 11)Jake Matthews vs. Michael Morales – UFC Vegas 82 (November 18)Uroš Medić vs. Jonny Parsons – UFC Vegas 82 (November 18)Mick Parkin vs. Caio Machado – UFC Vegas 82 (November 18)Clay Guida vs. Joaquim Silva – UFC Fight Night (December 2)Punahele Soriano vs. Dustin Stoltzfus – UFC Fight Night (December 2)Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Cody Durden – UFC 296 (December 16)

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:

Stephanie Egger (OUT, JJ Aldrich IN) vs. Montana De La Rosa – UFC Vegas 80 (October 7)Chris Duncan (OUT) vs. Terrance McKinney – UFC Vegas 81 (October 14)David Dvořák (OUT) vs. Tatsuro Taira – UFC Vegas 81 (October 14)Rani Yahya (OUT) vs. Alatengheili – UFC Vegas 81 (October 14)

And for more detailed information on two notable fights that may have flown under your radar between September 18 and September 24, scroll down and check out this week’s UFC matchmaking bulletin.

Sean Brady vs. Kelvin Gastelum – UFC Fight Night (December 2)

Having had a planned fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov for his welterweight return scrapped from Noche UFC this month, Kelvin Gastelum has a new ranked 170lber to prepare for.

After narrowly falling short of interim middleweight gold against Israel Adesanya in 2019, Gastelum (17-8, 1 NC) endured a difficult run of setbacks. Defeats to Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, Robert Whittaker, and Jared Cannonier left the TUF 17 winner 1-5 across a six-fight period. While he bounced back this past April at UFC 287 by outpointing Chris Curtis, Gastelum has still committed to a widely suggested change.

The 31-year-old will look to immediately enter the mix at welterweight when he faces the #9-ranked Sean Brady (15-1). The wrestling specialist rose into contention courtesy of an undefeated professional record that included wins over Michael Chiesa and Jake Matthews. Last October at UFC 280, however, the Philadelphian was stopped with strikes by Belal Muhammad. Having overcome a slew of health problems since, Brady will hope to make an impactful return 14 months on from his maiden MMA setback.

This welterweight fight was first reported by @MagicM_MMABets.

Per my sources, Sean Brady vs Kelvin Gastelum will happen in Minneapolis on December 2.

Small chance the card gets moved to Texas. #MagicMafia

— The Legend of MagicM MMA (@MagicM_MMABets) September 24, 2023

Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Azamat Murzakanov – UFC Fight Night (December 2)

The UFC’s matchmaking machine has been churning out a host of notable matchups for the festive season, and that includes one collision between ranked light heavyweights on December 2.

Khalil Rountree Jr. (12-5, 1 NC) has risen to within one place of the light heavyweight top 10 owing to a strong run of form. Since back-to-back losses against Ion Cuțelaba and Marcin Prachnio, “The War Horse” has won four straight. Most recently, Rountree Jr. followed up a decision victory over Dustin Jacoby by providing a rude welcome to the division for formerly ranked heavyweight Chris Daukaus.

Next, the 33-year-old will fight down the pecking order against the undefeated Azamat Murzakanov (13-0). “The Professional” has won all three of his Octagon outings since a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021. After knockouts of Tafon Nchukwi and Devin Clark, the #12-ranked Russian climbed the ladder by outpointing an opponent he shares with Rountree Jr., Jacoby.

This light heavyweight bout was first reported by ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto.

Contender Series alum Azamat Murzakanov, who is now 3-0 in the UFC and ranked No. 12 at LHW, will face No. 11 Khalil Rountree on Dec. 2 per sources. Rountree on a four-fight win streak.

— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 22, 2023

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