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Two top-10 Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweights looking to separate themselves from the pack will come to blows in May.
Combate first reported the story that Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-5) will take on Augusto Sakai (15-2-1) at the UFC Fight Night event on May 1. This event is expected to take place in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas but its location has not been formalized.
Abdurakhimov will be competing for the first time since September 2019, with a pair of scrapped 2020 matchups against Ciryl Gane nixed for various reasons. The Dagestan native’s last appearance came against Curtis Blaydes, and he was pounded out by ferocious ground-and-pound to snap a three-fight win streak. Prior to getting clobbered by Blaydes, Abdurakhimov rattled off a trio of wins once per year over Chase Sherman, Andrei Arlovski and Marcin Tybura, where he knocked out both Tybura and Sherman.
Sakai will be looking to get back in the win column after a fifth-round finish setback against Alistair Overeem last September. By losing to “The Demolition Man,” the Brazilian ended a six-fight win streak strangely similar to that of his opponent. In rapid succession, Sakai knocked out Sherman, won a disputed decision over Arlovski and knocked out Tybura. Following that win, he took a split verdict against Blagoy Ivanov in 2020, and encountered Overeem a few months later. The Brazilian brawler posts a career knockout rate of 73 percent, and he has never won nor lost a bout by submission.
The UFC Fight Night card on May 1 should take place in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex, with a light heavyweight battle expected to serve as the marquee between Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka. Other bouts likely set for the main card include Cub Swanson vs. Gavin Tucker at featherweight, and Ion Cutelaba vs. Devin Clark in the light heavyweight division.