Stanislav Nedkov is part of the UFC’s Jan. 14 return to Rio de Janeiro. | Photo: Daniel Herbertson
European standouts Siyar Bahadurzada and Stanislav Nedkov have been assigned Brazilian opponents for the UFC’s January return to Rio de Janeiro.
Bahadurzada announced Monday through his official Twitter account that he will face once-beaten Team Nogueira welterweight Erick Silva, while the UFC’s Brazilian branch confirmed that Nedkov will take on hard-hitting Fabio Maldonado.
Both bouts will be part of the lineup for UFC 142, which takes place Jan. 14 at Rio’s 16,000-seat HSBC Arena. The pay-per-view event is expected to be headlined by a featherweight title bout between reigning champ Jose Aldo and unbeaten collegiate wrestling convert Chad Mendes.
A product of the Netherlands’ Golden Glory gym, 27-year-old Bahadurzada will make his UFC debut in the same city in which he captured the Shooto 183-pound world title last August. “Siyar the Great” has since rattled off a trio of knockouts, stopping John Alessio, Derrick Noble and teammate Tommy Depret to win United Glory’s 2010-2011 welterweight grand prix.
Silva, also 27, made a name for himself in 2010 by capturing the welterweight title of leading Brazilian promotion Jungle Fight. He needed only 40 seconds to win his August UFC debut, punching out countryman and former Shooto champ Luis Ramos at UFC 134.
Perfect through 12 professional bouts, Nedkov also returns to the scene of his first Octagon outing, having notched a first-round knockout of Luiz Cane at UFC 134. The 30-year-old Bulgarian has finished all but two of his opponents to date and holds wins over veterans Travis Wiuff and Kevin Randleman in now-defunct Japanese promotion Sengoku.
An 11-year veteran of the sport who, like Silva, fights out of Team Nogueira, 31-year-old Maldonado has gone 1-1 in his UFC run. After punching out James McSweeney last October, the former pro boxer was handed a unanimous decision defeat in June by Kyle Kingsbury.