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UFC Atlantic City’s Augusto Mendes flagged by USADA, Dvalishvili fight scrapped

The former star grappler’s uneven UFC run has just hit a major speed bump ahead of a planned bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night: Lee vs. Barboza

UFC Fight Night: Mendes v Saenz Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When Augusto Mendes made his UFC debut back in 2016, he did so by jumping right into the deep end. The former elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor – with multiple ADCC & IBJJF world championships to his name – took on rising star Cody Garbrandt in his first bout in the Octagon, losing by KO in the first round.

Nearly a year later, after recovering from ACL surgery, he made his return, a win over Frankie Saenz. A loss to Aljamain Sterling followed, and Mendes was once again sidelined by another leg injury. The now 35-year-old had been expected to compete against Merab Dvalishvili on April 21st, his first bout in exactly one year. Instead, it looks like he’ll be waiting for a while longer yet.

The UFC announced - via press release, on Tuesday, March 20th - that Mendes had been flagged by USADA for an out-of competition drug test failure, stemming from a sample taken on March 7th. And as a result, the MMA Lab bantamweight has been removed from his bout on the UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee card.

His scheduled opponent, Merab Dvalishvili (7-3), is coming off a contentious Octagon debut loss to Frankie Saenz at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega. The promotion is currently seeking a replacement opponent for him on the Atlantic City fight card.