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UFC bantamweight returns after 40 month layoff

An exciting Contender Series alum is finally back in action.

Benito Lopez (left) after his win over Albert Morales in 2017.
Benito Lopez (left) after his win over Albert Morales in 2017.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

According to MMA Junkie Benito Lopez is set to return to action after a whopping 1,212 days on the sidelines. That outlet reports that he is due to face Mario Bautista at a UFC event on November 5.

Lopez made his MMA debut for Bellator MMA back in 2014 (as a flyweight). After plying his trade with WFC and KOTC he made his way to the inaugural season of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS)’ in 2017.

He appeared on the seventh episode of that debut season, earning a split decision victory over Steven Peterson. The then 23-year-old was one of just a handful of fighters to be signed off that show without producing a stoppage.

After that showing he was booked to fight Albert Morales at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega. He won that bout by unanimous decision.

Next up Lopez faced Manny Bermudez at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez in February 2019. Bermudez handed Lopez his first pro loss via a first round guillotine choke.

Lopez rebounded with a win over Vince Morales at UFC Fight Night: de Randamie vs. Ladd in July, 2019.

Sometime after that he suffered an injury which forced him out of competition for over three years.

Lopez’s scheduled opponent, Mario Bautista, is 10-2 on his career. He beat Brian Kelleher by first round submission in June to take his UFC record to 4-2.

Lopez vs. Bautista is the only fight currently booked for the UFC’s November 5 Fight Night card. That card is yet to receive an official name and its venue is TBA.