A pivotal middleweight bout will take place several weeks earlier than expected.
Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that the matchup between Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira will be moved up to UFC 276, which takes place July 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and anchors the UFC’s International Fight Week. The fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 277 on July 30. MMA Junkie first reported the switch.
Strickland has won six straight and is 5-0 since returning to the middleweight division after a successful run at welterweight. The No. 8 ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings is coming off of two main event victories over Jack Hermansson and Uriah Hall. “Tarzan” seemed to be targeting a matchup with Paulo Costa but stated on social media that the UFC didn’t seem interested in putting it together.
Pereira is seemingly getting the fast track treatment from the UFC, as he would enter for just his seventh pro MMA bout and third octagon appearance. “Poatan” holds a pair of kickboxing wins over current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, including a ferocious knockout in March 2017. Since signing with the UFC, Pereira has picked up a flying knee knockout win over Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268 and a unanimous decision win over Bruno Silva at UFC Vegas 50 earlier this month.
As of now, a main event for the card has yet to be revealed.
Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.