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Yahya out, Cody Garbrandt needs new opponent for UFC Vegas 61

The former bantamweight champion has been left looking for a new dance partner in his return to 135 lbs on October 1st.

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Cody Garbrandt gets set for his UFC 269 bout against Kai Kara-France.
Cody Garbrandt gets set for his UFC 269 bout against Kai Kara-France.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The Cody Garbradnt comeback tour just hit another pothole. ‘No Love’ is currently sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if UFC matchmakers can find him a new opponent for UFC Vegas 61: Dern vs. Yan. That news comes after Garbrandt’s planned opponent, Rani Yahya, withdrew from the card. Marcel Dorff of Eurosport NL first reported the news.

Unfortunately for Garbrandt, this is the second time his planned bout with Yahya has fallen apart. The two men were originally scheduled to meet back in July, at UFC Vegas 58: dos Anjos vs. Fiziev, but Yahya was forced to withdraw from the bout due to neck injury. MMA Fighting has confirmed that the same injury is responsible for Yahya’s removal from this October booking.

Assuming the UFC can find a replacement for the Brazilian, this fight would serve as Garbrandt’s first bout back at 135 lbs since an ill-fated drop to flyweight in December of last year. That bout, against recent interim title contender Kai Kara-France lasted just 3:21 into the first round before Garbrandt succumbed to strikes for the TKO loss. That defeat marked the fifth in the last six outings for Garbrandt—with his only victory being a 2020 second round KO victory over Raphael Assuncao—since winning the bantamweight title in a decision over Dominick Cruz back in 2016.

For Yahya, the longtime American Top Team athlete has maintained a strong record of success in recent years—with back to back victories in 2021, over Kyung-ho Kang and Ray Rodriguez. The 38-year-old has yet to compete in 2022, however. Unless he can bounce back from injury soon, Yahya may go a full calendar year without fighting for the first time since 2003.

No word yet on just who might replace Yahya against Garbrandt. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates as the story develops.