Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Alexey Kunchenko to Square Off at UFC Brasilia

By Jay Pettry Dec 26, 2019

Editor's note: This article has been updated at 7:45 p.m. ET on 12/26/19 to reflect additional information.

Several important matchups including one in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's welterweight division have found their home on the March card in Brasilia, Brazil.

On Wednesday night, Combate reported that Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (21-6) will be contending with Alexey Kunchenko (20-1) in the welterweight division at UFC Brasilia. The organization later confirmed this bout and several others on Thursday. This event goes down on March 14 at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. The card will be the promotion's first trip to the nation's capital since UFC Fight Night 95 in 2016, which was headlined by a catchweight contest between Cristiane Justino and Lina Lansberg.

The event does not currently have a headliner, although multiple other bouts were also added to the card on Thursday. A major flyweight battle between two top-ten fighters in Jussier Formiga (23-6) and Brandon Moreno (16-5-1) will take place at UFC Brasilia, as will a bantamweight contest pitting Rani Yahya (26-10, 1 NC) against Enrique Barzola (16-5-1). At women's bantamweight, Veronica Macedo (6-3-1) takes on Bea Malecki (3-0).

Zaleski dos Santos had his lengthy win streak snapped when he was battered by Jingliang Li in August, as the Chinese fighter stopped him late in third round with strikes. Prior to his loss, "Capoeira" was riding a seven-fight win streak with victories over Curtis Millender, Lyman Good and Omari Akhmedov. Along the way, Zaleski dos Santos flattened Sean Strickland with a spinning wheel kick, becoming the fifth fighter in organizational history to score that kind of knockout.

Kunchenko tasted defeat for the first time in his six-year career when Gilbert Burns captured a unanimous verdict over him in August. Before suffering his first loss as a professional, Kunchenko was 20-0 with 14 stoppages, and held two wins inside the Octagon over Thiago Alves and Yushin Okami. At the time, Kunchenko was one of a very small number of undefeated fighters in major organizations with at least 20 professional bouts, in good company with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Yaroslav Amosov.

These additions join several bouts previously assigned to the card, including a pivotal light heavyweight scrap between Johnny Walker and Nikita Krylov. Finally, Paige VanZant will fight the last bout on her current contract against Brazil's Amanda Ribas.


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