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A Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter is getting a rare opportunity to be double booked at the end of this year.
MMA Fighting first reported this story on Thursday, announcing that Gerald Meerschaert has been forced to pull out of his match with Ed Herman (25-14, 1 NC). Meerschaert will be replaced by John Allan Arte (13-5, 1 NC), and the Brazilian finds himself in a unique situation. In addition to his light heavyweight battle with Herman at the UFC Fight Night card on Sept. 12, he has also signed on to a matchup with Roman Dolidze (7-0) at UFC 255. The Sept. 12 show will be held in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, while UFC 255 will take place at an undetermined location on Nov. 21. Arte confirmed his bout with Dolidze on his Instagram, while Herman confirmed the opponent change on Wednesday as well.
The Brazilian last set foot in the cage in July 2019, where he won a decision over Mike Rodriguez but failed a post-fight drug test to have the result overturned to a no contest. Arte accepted a one-year suspension after testing positive for a metabolite, which is an estrogen blocker typically used to treat breast cancer. “The Hunter” first appeared on the Brazilian edition of Dana White's Contender Series in 2018, and Vinicius Moreira Castro tapped him in the second round. A victory over Alexandre Silva at a Future FC event earned him a spot on the roster, where he faced Rodriguez. Arte has stopped his opponent in 12 of his 13 career wins, with eight first-round finish victories to his credit.
Herman has seen a revolving door of opponents as of late, with two bouts against Da Un Jung scrapped due to the coronavirus and then a withdrawal from Jung. The middleweight was then booked against Meerschaert in August. On fight week, Meerschaert tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced out of his match. The fighters re-booked for the Sept. 12 show, but Meerschaert’s withdrawal forced yet another change of opponent. Throughout his UFC career that spans back to 2006 beginning in the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Herman has racked up wins over names including Rafael Natal, Tim Boetsch and Patrick Cummins over the years. When he signed to the UFC in 2006, his opponent Arte was still six years away from making his professional debut.
Arte’s second foe Dolidze is undefeated as a professional, with all seven of the Georgian’s wins coming by stoppage. Starting his career with three first-round submissions, Dolidze has since rattled off four wins due to strikes. His promotional debut came in July against Khadis Ibragimov, and after a tentative start to the contest, Dolidze smashed his opponent with a high knee to keep his perfect record intact.
The Sept. 12 Fight Night will be taking place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, where it will be headlined by a light heavyweight rumble between Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira. In addition, Roxanne Modafferi and Andrea Lee will rematch in the flyweight division.
UFC 255 will go down on Nov. 21 at an unannounced venue likely between the UFC Apex or Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. That event will be capped by a pair of flyweight championship affairs, as Deiveson Figueiredo defends his throne against Cody Garbrandt, while Valentina Shevchenko looks to keep a firm grasp on her belt against Jennifer Maia.