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Rachael Ostovich is off the card for the UFC’s return to New Zealand next month, and a Brazilian will take her place against Shana Dobson. Ostovich (4-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) is out of her women’s flyweight fight at UFC on ESPN+ 26 against Dobson (3-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), a person with knowledge of the matchup told MMA Junkie on Friday. Stepping in for Ostovich is Priscila Cachoeira (8-3 MMA, 0-3). The person spoke on condition...

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Randa Markos will be stepping in to fight sooner than expected. Markos will replace injured Paige VanZant to meet Amanda Ribas at UFC on ESPN+ 28 in Brasilia. A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the change to MMA Junkie on Thursday after an initial report from Combate. At this time, no specifics on the nature of VanZant’s injury are available. UFC on ESPN+ 28 takes place March 14 at Ginasio Nilson Nelson in...

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(Editor’s note: This story originally published in Friday’s print edition of USA TODAY.) LAS VEGAS – Conor McGregor is the biggest star in the history of mixed martial arts, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. But is he still capable of performing at the incredibly high levels he displayed on his way to the pinnacle of the UFC? That question will be answered Saturday at UFC 246. McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC), a...

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Ava Knight has her second MMA assignment. The boxing champion has been added to Bellator’s upcoming show on Jan. 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., where she will fight Emilee Gettys in a strawweight bout on the main card. MMA Fighting confirmed the matchup following an initial report by MMA Junkie. Knight, 31, made a successful Bellator and pro MMA debut when she defeated Shannon Goughary by third-round TKO at Bellator 228 in September....

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Rodolfo Vieira has his first fight for 2020 booked. Jiu-jitsu standout Vieira (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meets Saparbek Safarov (9-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in a middleweight bout at UFC 248. MMA Junkie confirmed the booking with a person with knowledge of the matchup following an initial report by MMA DNA. UFC 248 takes place March 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims...

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Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Rodolfo Vieira has a date and an opponent set for his next Octagon appearance. The UFC announced on Tuesday that the five-time BJJ world champion and ADCC gold medalist will take on Saparbek Safarov at UFC 248, a pay-per-view show scheduled for March 7 in Las Vegas. “The Black Belt Hunter” made his UFC debut in August, submitting Oskar Piechota with an arm-triangle choke at UFC Montevideo. The grappling wizard holds a...