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Merab Dvalishvili vs. Raoni Barcelos in the works for UFC Vegas 16

Raoni Barcelos defeated Khalid Taha in an action-packed contest earlier this month at the UFC APEX. | Zuffa LLC

Raoni Barcelos asked for a top-ranked opponent after his most recent UFC victory, and has just agreed to face Merab Dvalishvili at the upcoming UFC Vegas 16 card on Dec. 5, multiple people with knowledge of the booking told MMA Fighting.

Dvalishvili was originally scheduled to take on Cody Stamann on that same date, but his opponent withdrew from the card.

Barcelos (16-1), who also agreed to fight Stamman back in March before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of many UFC events, defeated Khalid Taha via decision earlier this month in Las Vegas, pocketing extra $50,000 for the “Fight of the Night.”

A former RFA featherweight champion, Barcelos is 5-0 inside the octagon with wins over the likes of Said Nurmagomedov and Kurt Holobaugh.

Dvalishvili (12-4) also enters the eight-sided cage riding a five-fight win streak under the UFC banner, capped off by a decision over longtime veteran John Dodson. “The Machine” also won decisions over Gustavo Lopez, Casey Kenney, Brad Katona and Terrion Ware since Sept. 2018.

The Dec. 5 UFC Fight Night show will be headlined by middleweights Jack Hermansson and Kevin Holland, who stepped in as a replacement for Darren Till.

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