If everything had fallen the way it was supposed to, Bryce Mitchell would have been stepping in the cage in a little less than two weeks’ time. ‘Thug Nasty’ had been set to tangle with fellow rising featherweight star Movsar Evloev in the main event of UFC Vegas 64 at the Apex facility on November 5th. At least that was the plan right up until Evloev had to pulled from the bout due to injury.
Shortly after Evloev’s withdrawal, Ilia Topuria stepped up to the plate to offer himself as a replacement. There was just one problem, it seems that despite Topuria’s offer (and thirst traps), he couldn’t actually make the featherweight limit.
“I just wanna update y’all with some fight news,” Mitchell told fans in a self recorded video for his social media accounts on October 17th. “To the best of my knowledge, Ilia Topuria has not accepted the fight, as of now. So, they’re moving on, looking for other opponents. That’s to the best of my knowledge. I don’t really know. Maybe in a couple days he’ll change his mind. But, I hear that Ilia is now saying that he can’t make the weight, which is crazy, because he was supposed to fight the week before.”
Topuria denied that narrative, calling Mitchell a “piece of shit! Coward and liar!” Whatever the truth of the situation it seems the fight is now back on track, just kicked a few more weeks down the line. Mitchell and Topuria have both confirmed a report from Eurosport Nederland’s Marcel Dorff, that the two men will face off at UFC 282 on December 10th.
Unbeaten in his pro career, Mitchell will enter the fight with a shiny 15-0 record alongside six victories inside the Octagon. Back in March the Arkansas native defeated former top-ranked lightweight competitor Edson Barboza at UFC 272.
For his part, Topuria will also enter the bout with a spotless MMA career to date, sitting comfortably at 12-0. Topuria made his UFC debut back in 2020 against Youssef Zalal, and followed that decision win up with knockout victories over Damon Jackson, Ryan Hall, and Jai Herbert. Topuria last competed up in the lightweight division after being removed from an expected January contest against Charles Jourdain, following weight cut complications. Despite the trouble on the scales, ‘El Matador’ has seemed confident he can make the drop down to 145 lbs again.
UFC 282 is expected to be headlined by a light heavyweight title rematch between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira. A bout between former champ Jan Blachowicz and top contender Magomed Ankalaev is currently set for the co-main event.