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Gunnar Nelson gets new opponent for UFC 286

The line-up for UFC 286 has gone through a slight change.

Gunnar Nelson when he fought Takashi Sato.
Gunnar Nelson is due to fight in London.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Gunnar Nelson has a new opponent for his next fight.

The UFC welterweight was paired against Daniel Rodriguez for UFC 286, but ‘D-Rod’ was forced to withdraw due to undisclosed reasons. The promotion has found a short-notice replacement for ‘Gunni,’ who now shares the Octagon with Bryan Barberena on the pay-per-view portion of the event.

Barberena has since confirmed the fight on his social media.

In his most recent appearance, Nelson snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision against Takashi Sato at UFC London this past March. That was his first appearance in two-and-a-half years, as the Iceland native spent most of that time sidelined with several injuries.

Prior to that, Nelson alternated between wins and losses to names such as Alan Jouban, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Alex Oliveira.

Barberena has won three of his past four fights. After earning decisions against Darian Weeks and Matt Brown, ‘Bam Bam’ finished former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler by second-round TKO at UFC 276 this past July. Barberena went for his fourth consecutive win against Rafael dos Anjos, but was submitted at UFC Orlando in December.

UFC 286 goes down on Sat., March 18, at the O2 Arena in London, England. Headlining is a welterweight championship fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more updates to the event as they become available in the coming weeks.

About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)