Joaquin Buckley has been a fixture in the middleweight divisoin since he joined the UFC roster in 2020. However, that is expected to change when he makes his next appearance in the Octagon. As the fighter himself previously announced, Buckley will be moving down from middleweight to the 170-pound limit for his next booking.
Buckley is expected to meet Andre Fialho on May 20 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout was announced for the upcoming UFC Fight Night card on Wednesday. Joaquin Buckley has been an attention grabbing action fighter since joining the UFC roster three years back. In that time ‘New Mansa’ has picked up five wins through nine middleweight appearances in the promotion, including a viral 2020 knockout against Impa Kasanganay.
Joaquin Buckley to make first welterweight appearance since 2018
The 28-year-old is making the move down after suffering losses to Nassourdine Imavov and veteran Chris Curtis last year. Those defeats marked Buckley’s first two-bout losing streak in his entire pro career.
It’s not terribly surprising news, considering Buckley had previously stated his intention to go back down to the welterweight division.
“I’ve taken on every challenge thrown at me at 185 [pounds],” Buckley said via Instagram earlier this year. “I’m coming back home the welterweight division is mine.”
The first few years of Buckley’s MMA career saw him compete as a welterweight. He had a brief, four-fight Bellator campaign at the weight class. This included a fight against Logan Storley, who recently battled Yaroslav Amosov in a welterweight title unification bout.
Fialho could ruin Buckley’s return
Both Fialho and Buckley have picked up most of their UFC victories via finish. Similar to Buckley, Fialho will be going into this fight with the plan of snapping a two-fight streak of losses.
He was incredibly active in his rookie year in the UFC, fighting five times within 12 months. The end of that run saw him get finished twice, with Jake Matthews and Muslim Salikhov earning stoppages against him.
With an attempt to bounce back and get into the win column, Fialho will also have the chance to spoil Buckley’s return to the division.
An updated look at UFC Vegas 73
Bantamweights Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana are the current expected five-round main event for UFC’s May 20 card. Pennington enters the fight on an impressive five-fight run of wins, and Aldana comes in following a pair of victories in the division.
Here’s how the card looks currently:
- Bantamweight: Raquel Pennington vs. Irene Aldana
- Middleweight: Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Anthony Hernandez
- Lightweight: Michael Johnson vs. Diego Ferreira
- Strawweight: Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Vanessa Demopoulos
- Middleweight: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Brunno Ferreira
- Heavyweight: Ilir Latifi vs. Rodrigo Nascimento
- Lightweight: Maheshate vs. Viacheslav Borshchev
- Lightweight: Chase Hooper vs. Nick Fiore
- Flyweight: Victoria Leonardo vs. Natalia Silva
- Welterweight: Orion Cosce vs. Gilbert Urbina
- Welterweight: Andre Fialho vs. Joaquin Buckley
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