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With Mike Davis out, Giga Chikadze welcomes newcomer Irwin Rivera at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 8 event

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Giga Chikadze has a new opponent for Saturday night in Jacksonville.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans have confirmed to MMA Fighting that Chikadze will now face Titan FC bantamweight champion Irwin Rivera in a featherweight matchup. On less than 48 hours notice, Rivera—who confirmed the booking on Twitter—will replace Mike Davis who was forced to withdraw from the scheduled bout.

News of Davis’ scratch was first reported by Adjara Sport.

Chikadze enters the contest riding a four-fight winning streak since losing to Austin Springer via third-round submission on Dana White’s Contender Series in June 2018. After a pair of finishes under the Gladiator Challenge banner, the 31-year-old made his UFC debut this past September and picked up a split decision win over Brandon Davis. Chikadze improved to 2-0 inside the octagon at UFC 248 in March with another split decision victory over promotional debutante Jamall Emmers.

Rivera enters his UFC debut coming off of a highly successful 2019 campaign for Titan FC. After a first-round knockout win over Lazar Stojadinovic in a featherweight bout at Titan FC 53, “The Beast” captured and defended the promotion’s bantamweight title with finishes of Matt Wagy and Danny Sabatello.

UFC on ESPN 8 will take place at the YvStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. and will be headlined by a heavyweight matchup between Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem.