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With Giga Chikadze out, Alex Caceres now faces newcomer Kevin Croom at UFC Vegas 8

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There’s been a shake up with the UFC on ESPN 8 fight card on Saturday.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that Alex Caceres will now face promotional newcomer Kevin Croom at UFC Vegas 8. Croom will replace Giga Chikadze, who was forced to withdraw for undisclosed reasons, per UFC officials.

Caceres enters the fight a winner of two straight, and three of four amid his first winning streak in four years. “Bruce Leroy” has back-to-back decision wins over Steven Peterson and, most recently at UFC 250, Chase Hooper.

Croom, a veteran of 33 professional bouts, makes his octagon debut riding a three-fight winning streak. “The Hard Hitting Hillbilly” picked up a first-round submission win over Charles Bennett in August 2019 before starting his 2020 campaign with decision wins over Adil Benjilany at Bellator 239 and Anderson Hutchinson for Missouri regional promotion FAC earlier this month. The 33-year-old has shared the cage with several past and present UFC fighters, including suffering a first-round slam knockout in the pro debut of current interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje in 2011.

UFC on ESPN 8 is headlined by a pivotal light heavyweight bout between Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic.

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