UFC has booked another bantamweight scarp for early 2021, as Raphael Assuncao is set to fight against up and comer Raoni Barcelos on Feb. 27
Multiple people confirmed the booking on Friday but asked to remain anonymous, as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement. The fight was first reported by Sherdog. The UFC has paired up two of its top Brazilian bantamweight. A surging divisional up and comer will look to possibly crack the top-10 of the bantamweight division.
Assuncao will look to get back on track and snap a three-fight skid. After claiming victory in four consecutive bouts between 2017 and 2018, the 38-year-old has suffered defeats in his last fights. Assuncao (27-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) looks to turn his luck around after three straight losses. From 2011-19, Assuncao went 11-1 as he ascended the UFC rankings. However, he’s suffered consecutive defeats to Marlon Moraes, Cory Sandhagen, and Cody Garbrandt. Most recently Assuncao was knocked out cold by Cody Garbrant at UFC 250.
Barcelos enters the contest a winner of nine straight—five of which took place in the octagon. The Brazilian standout holds UFC wins over Kurt Holobaugh, Chris Gutierrez, Carlos Huachin, Said Nurmagomedov, and Khalid Taha. The 33-year-old was scheduled to face Merab Dvalishvili earlier this month, but the fight never took place due to Barcelos’ medical suspension from his most recent win over Taha.
Barcelos (16-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) has competed five times since he joined the promotion in early 2017. A former RFA champion, Barcelos is going undefeated at this moment and a win over a UFC bantamweight veteran like Raphael will put him among the top in the bantamweight division.
UFC Bantamweight champion Petr Yan was recently forced to pull out of his scheduled Bantamweight title fight against Aljamain Sterling, which was set to headline UFC 256 on Dec. 12. Petr Yan won the title earlier this year at UFC 251, stopping Jose Aldo via strikes to claim the vacant 135-pound strap. Winner of 10 straight, Yan quickly became one of the most dangerous fighters in the division and now that he has the belt, all eyes and big bull’s eye will be on him.
The Bantamweight division has been at a standstill after Petr Yan grabbed the title, despite it being one of the most stacked divisions in the UFC. Aljamain Sterling has been waiting for the title shot for very long and deserves it the most. Many suggest that instead of taking up another fight until Yan is back, it is sensible for Aljo to wait until February where the UFC is planning to push this fight. Aljo is the rightful contender and should not be forced to fight for anything less than the title. Meanwhile, the UFC can set up fights between other fighters like Cody Garbrandt, Marlon Moraes, and Jose Aldo.
With the addition, the Feb. 27 lineup includes: