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Shavkat Rakhmonov verbally agrees to fight late replacement Bryan Barberena | UFC Vegas 67 (Updated)

Rakhmonov and Barberena played matchmaker over social media after Shavkat’s fight against Geoff Neal fell through because of injury.

UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Strickland Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

*** UPDATE: UFC has informed Barberena that he will not replace Neal ***

The first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event of 2023 took a serious hit yesterday with the news that Geoff Neal was injured and out of a highly anticipated fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Rakhmonov is undefeated (16-0) and dominated the extremely tough Neil Magny en route to a second round submission win in June. He’s another one of those fighters who has a hard time securing opponents, so when Neal revealed he was pulling out, “Nomad” was less than understanding.

“Apparently Geoff Neal is all talk,” Rakhmonov wrote in one tweet. Another tweet included a quote from Neal about beating Shavkat “easy.” Rakhmonov said, “Show up then.”

Few fighters have put their name forward to challenge the No. 10-ranked Welterweight, but one man willing to step in on short notice is Octagon warrior, is Bryan Barberena.

“Neal out. We were supposed to fight before on short notice,” Barberena wrote on Twitter. “No one wants to fight you. F— it make it at 180 and I’ll see you there!”

“Why not?” Shavkat replied. “Let’s do it for the fans.”

Mad respect, let’s f—in go!” Barberena wrote. “UFC, Sean Shelby, Dana White, let’s make this official. Send the contract and let’s get it done.”

It would be a quick turnaround for Barberena, who just suffered a second round submission loss to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Orlando on Dec. 3, 2022. The entertaining brawler is clearly looking to remove that memory from everyone’s mind, and he thinks a banger with Shavkat would do the trick.

Will UFC agree with his assessment, or will it stay the course and try to reschedule the Neal fight? That’s certainly what Neal is hoping for.

“Didn’t know getting injured means I’m all talk,” he wrote on Twitter. “Mf let’s re-book it.”

UFC Vegas 67 goes down Jan. 14, 2023, inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, headlined by a Middleweight scrap between Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov.

To check out the latest UFC Vegas 67 fight card and rumors click here.

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