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Due to an injury replacement, Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight Matt Schnell now finds himself in a matchup against a top-ranked foe.
ESPN Deportes first reported the news on Wednesday night that Askar Askarov (14-0-1) has been forced out of his pairing with Alex Perez (24-6) due to a broken hand. The two flyweights were set to dance at UFC on ESPN 27 on July 31, but as a result, Matt Schnell (15-6) will be entering and the bout will be shifted to the UFC Fight Night event on Aug. 28. Perez and Schnell were originally slated to meet at UFC 262, but the scrap fell through and Schnell stayed on the card in a losing effort.
Schnell, who has lost two of his last three to Alexandre Pantoja and Rogerio Bontorin dating back to late 2019, will be taking on the sixth-ranked flyweight Perez on relatively short notice. As mentioned above, Schnell was once booked versus Perez, and Bontorin stepped in as the replacement up a weight class and defeated Schnell by unanimous verdict – Bontorin did miss weight ahead of that May bout. Throughout his UFC tenure, Schnell has jumped between bantamweight and flyweight on several occasions, making his promotional debut at 135 pounds against current top contender Rob Font.
Perez fell short in his first title opportunity when he was tapped out by Deiveson Figueiredo in November in just under two minutes. In the process, Perez did become the first fighter out of Dana White's Contender Series to vie for UFC gold. On his way up, Perez finished Jose Torres, Jordan Espinosa and Jussier Formiga all in the first round, but likewise fell short in the opening frame to Joseph Benavidez and Figueiredo.
The UFC Fight Night event on Aug. 28 will go down at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, with a potential featherweight barnburner as the marquee matchup when Edson Barboza comes to blows with Giga Chikadze. The current co-main event sees the unbeaten Sean Brady square off with former lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee at welterweight, while Ketlen Vieira vs. Sara McMann at bantamweight likely gains main card placement.