Two unranked but promising bantamweights are lined up for a showdown this summer.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that Raoni Barcelos and Timur Valiev will fight each other at a UFC Fight Night card on June 26th. No location or venue has been announced as of yet.
Barcelos (16-1) has been phenomenal throughout his UFC tenure, but the combination of bantamweight’s depth and his lack of marquee opponents means the Brazilian is still outside the official top-15. His last bout was a Fight of the Night unanimous decision win over Khalid Taha back in November, improving his UFC record to 5-0. Bouts against Merab Dvalishvili and Raphael Assuncao fell through for different reasons, and even a short notice fight with Marcelo Rojo was nixed when Barcelos tested positive for coronavirus.
Valiev (17-2, 1 NC) came in with plenty of intrigue and familiarity given his long spell with WSOF turned PFL. The Russian’s UFC debut against Trevin Jones started strongly but ended in a disastrous second-round TKO loss. A positive marijuana test turned that loss into a no contest, and his follow-up performance against Martin Day proved a comfortable decision win.
The UFC’s June 26th card is slated to feature heavyweight contenders Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov in the main event.
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