Sources close to the situation confirmed to MMA Fighting that a matchup between Duraev and Alessio Di Chirico is being targeted for UFC 267. The card will take place Oct. 30 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. ESPN was first to report the matchup.
Duraev, a now former ACB middleweight champion, earned a UFC contract with a dominant neck crank submission win over Caio Bittencourt at DWCS Season 5, Week 3. “Machete” has won nine straight, finishing eight of those victories, as he looks to make a big splash in the UFC’s 185-pound division.
Di Chirico began the year with a stellar head kick knockout win over Joaquin Buckley at January’s UFC Fight Island 7 event, snapping a three-fight losing streak in the process. “Manzo” returned in August at UFC Vegas 35 where he suffered a similar fate at the foot of Abdul Razak Alhassan in just 17 seconds.
UFC 267 will feature a pair of world title fights, including Jan Blachowicz defending the light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira in the main event. Aljamain Sterling will make his first title defense in a rematch against Petr Yan in the bantamweight championship co-main event.