Johnny Eduardo’s return to the Octagon will not be happening this weekend as originally planned.
MMA Fighting reported on Monday that visa issues have prevented the 42-year-old Brazilian from traveling to the United States, ruling him out of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 22 preliminary card matchup with Anthony Birchak. Officials are looking for a replacement to fight Birchak on what is undoubtedly very short notice.
If it feels like you haven’t heard Eduardo’s name in a very long time, well you’d be correct. Eduardo (28-12) hasn’t fought since June 2018, when he was knocked out by bantamweight prospect Nathaniel Wood. You have to go back to November 2016 for his last win, which was a second-round TKO of Manny Gamburyan.
Birchak (15-7) went 2-2 in his first stint in the UFC, then signed with RIZIN in 2017 and went winless over three fights with the Japanese promotion. After a win in Combate Americas and another one in LFA, Birchak returned to the UFC last November but was submitted by Gustavo Lopez. Now we’ll see if he even remains on Saturday’s card.
UFC Vegas 22 features a middleweight main event between veteran Derek Brunson and rapidly rising contender Kevin Holland. The main card will air on both ESPN television and ESPN+, with prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.