It seems as though some of the UFC’s recent injury woes have shaken things up a bit more for the world’s largest MMA promotion and their fall-winter fight booking plans. Recently fans found out that Jared Cannonier had been set to replace Paulo Costa for UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, following Costa’s infection trouble from a recent elbow surgery.
Unfortunately for Cannonier, shortly after accepting the bout, the ‘Killa Gorilla’ suffered an MCL tear, forcing him out of the PPV co-main event. The injury was bad enough, however, that it also scrapped a likely main event booking for the UFC’s upcoming card in Austin, TX, where the 39-year-old had been expected to take on fellow top-ranked middleweight Roman Dolidze. But, if fans were worried they weren’t going to get their money’s worth, then they need fear no more.
Dana White announces UFC Austin headliner
In a recent video released on the promotion’s social media platforms, UFC CEO Dana White gave fans an update on the promotion’s December 2nd fight card—topped by a newly booked lightweight pairing between Beneil Dariush and Arman Tsarukyan.
“What’s up everybody!?” White shouted into the camera. “UFC is returning to Austin, TX on December 2nd at the Moody’s Center. The main event is #4 ranked Beneil Dariush vs. #8 Arman Tsarukyan. Two elite lightweights; no holes in their game, 26 finishes between them. 15 in the first round. Dariush is a longtime veteran trying to remain at the top, and Tsarukyan is the guy that many people believe has the best shot of anyone in top 15 of taking out Islam Makhachev. He’s been the dark horse of the division, and a win here puts him in the top 4—on the verge of a title shot.”
Dariush will enter the fight looking to rebound from a first round TKO loss to Charles Oliveira, in a lightweight title eliminator fight back at UFC 289. That bout snapped an 8-fight winning streak for the longtime Kings MMA talent, stretching all the way back to 2018. Unfortunately, Oliveira didn’t end up fighting for UFC gold either, despite being scheduled for a main event booking against Islam Makhachev at UFC 294.
An injury, suffered late in training camp forced the Brazilian out of the event, opening the door for a rematch between Makhachev and featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski. The Dagestani retained his title via first-round head kick KO.
Arman Tsarukyan steps into the UFC Austin main event on a two fight winning streak, following a controversial decision loss to Mateusz Gamrot back in June of last year. Since that fight, the 27-year-old has rattled off back to back wins over Damir Ismagulov and Joaquim Silva—the latter coming by third round TKO back this last summer.
UFC Austin gets 5-round co-main event
In something of a surprise move from the UFC, their upcoming Austin fight card will host not one, but two 5-round fights. Alongside the main event booking between Dariush and Tsarukyan, Dana White announced a second lightweight bout between top-ranked action fighters Dan Hooker and Bobby Green.
“The co-main event: #9 Dan Hooker faces #12 Bobby Green,” White said in the same video announcing the main event. “That is also five rounds. Dan is that anywhere, anytime type fighter. 18 of his 23 wins are by finish. He’s well rounded, but known for his aggressive striking style. Bobby is on fire, coming off a 30-second knockout. Only a month ago, he was the main event. Green will meet him in the middle with his hands down, moving forward—daring Hooker to go toe-to-toe, like he always does. And he will be looking for his 21st stoppage, and he’s looking to move into the top 10.”
37-year-old Bobby Green enters the fight fresh off a shocking 33-second KO of Grant Dawson just earlier this October. That win was Green’s second, following a no contest against Jared Gordon this past April, and firmly re-cemented Green in the lightweight rankings following back to back TKO/KO losses to Islam Makhachev and Drew Dober to close out 2022.
Dan Hooker has been experiencing his own revitalized run of success lately, with a split decision win over Jalin Turner at UFC 290 in July. That win followed a TKO of Clauio Puelles in November of last year, maintaining Hooker’s status as a ranked lightweight despite a 1-4 run between summer 2020 spring of 2022.
Also expected for UFC Austin is a welterweight bout between Sean Brady and Kelvin Gastelum, as well as a women’s bantamweight bout between former champion Miesha Tate and Julia Avila, and the bantamweight debut of former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, taking on Rob Font. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates.
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