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If Brian Ortega is Unavailable, Diego Lopes Wants Alexander Volkanovski at The Sphere



While Diego Lopes is still interested in fighting Brian Ortega, he wants Alexander Volkanovski next if “T-City” is unavailable.

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Lopes was originally scheduled to fight Ortega in a featherweight matchup in the co-main event at UFC 303 last weekend. However, Lopes agreed to a lightweight clash when it become clear that Ortega was going to be unable to cut to 145 pounds. The fight finally fell through when “T-City” fell ill on the day of the bout. Ortega was replaced on hours’ notice by Dan Ige, who suffered a hard-fought unanimous decision loss against Lopes.

Both Lopes and Ige subsequently called for a spot at UFC 306 on Sept. 14 at the Sphere in Las Vegas, a request to which Dana White has already agreed. While Lopes called for a rebooking against Ortega, the former title challenger’s future at featherweight currently hangs in the balance. Ortega was already targeting a move up to lightweight, potentially at UFC 306, when he accepted the short-notice featherweight clash against Lopes. If Ortega can’t make the cut to 145 pounds, Lopes revealed on "The MMA Hour” that he wants former champ Volkanovski at the Sphere in September.

“I mean, we would love the Brian [Ortega] reprogramming of the fight,” Lopes said. “We would love that opportunity as long as he can make 145 pounds, he’s healthy and can come back for the fight. But if he’s not, then we would love to fight Volkanovski. It would just be a great accolade for me and another scale up the ladder for my career.”

Lopes hasn’t lost in four outings since dropping a unanimous decision in a “Fight of the Night” against Movsar Evloev in his UFC debut in May 2023. Evloev took a shot at Lopes after UFC 303, stating that the Brazilian’s biggest claim to fame was the loss against him.



Evloev has only fought once since his win over Lopes, taking unanimous decision over Arnold Allen at UFC 297 this past January. Responding to Evloev’s latest comments, Lopes suggested the Russian stay quiet based on their recent career trajectories.

“There’s no real response to that,” Lopes said. “It’s just better that he stays quiet because what [I] have done in one year in the UFC, he hasn’t even [come] close to it.”

Evloev has since called out Lopes for a rematch, allegedly because Aljamain Sterling won’t accept a fight against him.

“Hey [Diego Lopes], I wanna give you a rematch at the Sphere because [Aljamain Sterling] is running for his life, and this time I’m gonna finish you.”

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