UFC on ESPN+ 23 adds trifecta of bantamweight bouts

A trio of 135-pound fights have been added to the UFC’s return to South Korea.

Ryan Benoit (10-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) vs. Heili Alateng (13-7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Raoni Barcelos (14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), and Kyung Ho Kang(16-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Pingyuan Liu (13-6 MMA, 2-1 UFC) have been added to UFC on ESPN+ 23.

The promotion announced all three bouts in social media posts earlier this week. MMA Fighting was the first to report the Barcelos vs. Nurmagomedov booking.

After 25 months away from MMA competition, Benoit will move up from 125 pounds. The Texas-based fighter most recently fought at UFC Fight Night 121 in November 2017, when he head-kicked Ashkan Mokhtarian en route to a third-round TKO victory.

His opponent, China’s Alateng debuted in August at UFC on ESPN+ 15. Alateng defeated fellow UFC newcomer Danaa Batgerel by unanimous decision, winning “Fight of the Night” in the process.

Also on the card, Brazil’s Barcelos will look to keep his perfect Russia’s Nurmagomedov. Through three UFC appearances, Barcelos has maintained a 100 percent finishing rate. After he knocked out Kurt Holobaugh in his debut, Barcelos submitted Chris Gutierrez and ground-and-pound TKO’d Carlos Huachin.

Nurmagomedov has won back-to-back outings to kick off his UFC tenure. After he won a controversial split decision against Justin Scoggins in July 2018, Nurmagomedov body-kicked his way to victory against Ricardo Ramos in February.

In the final of three bantamweight additions, it’ll be a homecoming for South Korea’s Kang. “Mr. Perfect” Kang has gone 3-1 since returning from mandatory military obligations in South Korea. Kang is riding back-to-back victories over Teruto Ishihara and Brandon Davis.

China’s Liu suffered his first UFC loss in his last fight in July, when he was brutally knocked out by a knee from Jonathan Martinez. Prior to that, Liu defeated Martin Day and Damian Stasiak by decision.

UFC on ESPN+ 23 takes place Saturday, Dec. 21 at Sajik Arena in Busan, South Korea. The main card streams on ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN.

With the addition, the UFC on ESPN+ 23 lineup includes:

6 months ago

Your Ad could be here please email () us for the details.

email us »


Latest news in MMA

UFC president Dana White addresses coronavirus worries: 'We're always concerned'
2 months ago
From 'fake Mexican' to street cred: Khabib, Tony Ferguson verbally spar at UFC 249 press conference
2 months ago
Tony Ferguson shuts down reporter's mental health question with profane response
2 months ago
Photos: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 press conference
2 months ago
UFC 248 ceremonial weigh-in highlights, photo gallery: Final faceoffs for a sick title doubleheader
2 months ago
Photos: UFC 248 ceremonial weigh-ins
2 months ago
Israel Adesanya ($500k), Yoel Romero ($350k) lead UFC 248 disclosed salaries
2 months ago
Drakkar Klose aims to finish 'flat-footed' and 'chinny' Beneil Dariush at UFC 248
2 months ago
UFC 248 faceoff: Zhang Weili, Joanna Jedrzejczyk shake hands – kind of?
2 months ago
UFC 248 faceoff video: Israel Adesanya, Yoel Romero's long staring contest
2 months ago
After seven-fight UFC run, Kyle Bochniak meets Bellator vet Jonathan Gary at CES MMA 61
2 months ago
Jury finds UFC welterweight Abdul Razak Alhassan not guilty of sexual assault
2 months ago
UFC 249 faceoff video: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson exchange words, and a belt is punted
2 months ago
On the Doorstep: 5 fighters who could make MMA big leagues with March wins
2 months ago
Max Griffin considers Alex Oliveira fight 'a gift,' promises finish at UFC 248
2 months ago
Tai Tuivasa vs. Jarjis Dando booked for UFC 251 in Perth, Australia
2 months ago
Alexander Volkanovski wants Max Holloway rematch at UFC 251, fires back at 'Korean Zombie'
2 months ago
Liz Carmouche to make Bellator debut May 29 in Temecula
2 months ago
UFC 248 'Embedded,' No. 5: Relive that Jedrzejczyk-Weili faceoff up close once more
2 months ago
Alex Perez vs. Kai Kara-France booked for flyweight fight at UFC San Diego
2 months ago