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Matheus Nicolau re-signs with UFC, needs new opponent for UFC 257 after Tagir Ulanbekov withdraws

Brazilian flyweight Matheus Nicolau went 3-1 in his first stint as a UFC fighter. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Two years after being let go by the UFC, Matheus Nicolau re-signed with the company for a UFC 257 flyweight clash with Tagir Ulanbekov on Jan. 23, but now he’s in need of a new opponent.

The UFC officially announced the matchup earlier this week, but multiple people with knowledge of the situation told MMA Fighting that Ulanbekov withdrew from the card due to undisclosed reasons.

The UFC is currently looking for a replacement to face Nicolau in Abu Dhabi, sources said.

Nicolau (15-2-1) won his first three UFC bouts between 2015 and 2017 against the likes of John Moraga and Louis Smolka after being on the cast of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4, but got his pink slip following a defeat to Dustin Ortiz in 2018. Nicolau won back-to-back fights in 2019 to earn his way back to the promotion.

UFC 257 will take place at Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island and air live on pay-per-view. A lightweight rematch between former champions Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor headlines the show.

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