Mirsad Bektic will be able to open up the UFC 204 pay-per-view broadcast, after all. The highly touted featherweight prospect had lost two opponents on this October 8th card to injury, but UFC officials were able to book Russell Doane to fight Bektic just a few days out from fight night. MMAjunkie reported the news on Tuesday.
Bektic (10-0) hasn’t fought since a resounding victory vs. Lucas Martins in May 2015. He was scheduled to fight Tatsuya Kawajiri on last December’s TUF 22 Finale before suffering an ACL tear. The 25-year-old also holds UFC victories over Chas Skelly and Paul Redmond, and was Bloody Elbow’s #1 fighter in the 2014 Scouting Report.
Doane (14-6) is on a three-fight losing streak. The former Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight champion started his UFC career with a pair of wins against Leandro Issa and Marcus Brimage. Doane has since dropped consecutive decisions to Iuri Alcantara Jerrod Sanders, and this year he lost by 1st round guillotine choke to Pedro Munhoz.
Initial plans were for Bektic to fight Arnold Allen, but Allen withdrew due to injury. Jeremy Kennedy was picked as Allen’s replacement, only for Kennedy to pull out for the same reasons. Doane is now moving up to featherweight for a short-notice showdown with Bektic, but given his losing skid, it’s a clear must-win.
UFC 204 is headlined by a middleweight title fight between champion Michael Bisping and arch-nemesis Dan Henderson.