Makhmud Muradov Steps in Against Andrew Sanchez at UFC 257

By Jay Pettry Dec 24, 2020

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The new year has not yet begun and the Ultimate Fighting Championship is already changing up events in 2021.

Makhmud Muradov (24-6) announced on his Instagram on Thursday that he would be competing at UFC 257 in place of Andre Muniz at middleweight. Muradov will be facing Andrew Sanchez (12-5) on the card that will go down on Jan. 23 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Muniz was forced to withdraw for currently undisclosed reasons. Muradov attempted to compete through 2020 on four separate occasions, and all four were scuttled for various reasons.

“My next fight will take place on January 23rd against Andrew Sanchez,” Muradov wrote on his Instagram via Google Translate. “In Sha Allah ovsem soon I will please you with another victory! Thank you all very much for your support.”

“Mach” is currently riding a 13-fight win streak into this contest with Sanchez, including a pair of wins inside the Octagon over Alessio Di Chirico and Trevor Smith in 2019. A whopping 17-1 since 2014, the Uzbekistan native’s only defeat in that span came from an injury to his shoulder against David Ramires in 2016. Two-thirds of Muradov’s wins – Muradov is the lone fighter managed by Floyd Mayweather – have come by knockout, with another 13 percent by tapout for a solid career finish rate of 79 percent.

Sanchez managed to compete once in 2020, starching Wellington Turman with one punch at UFC Fight Night 174 in August. The finish was his first under the UFC banner, as his previous four UFC wins all came by unanimous verdict. Sanchez made his way to the UFC by winning Season 23 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” beating Myron Dennis, Eric Spicely and Khalil Rountree to take the top prize and the six-figure contract.

UFC 257 takes place on Jan. 23 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Headlining the “Fight Island” pay-per-view card is a lightweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Serving as the co-main event will be Michael Chandler in his long-awaited promotional debut against Dan Hooker. Other significant matchups on the card include a middleweight battle between Brad Tavares and Antonio Carlos Jr., and a lightweight clash between Nasrat Haqparast and Arman Tsarukyan.

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