Alonzo Menifield knows the name of the fighter he’ll be matched up against this weekend at UFC Vegas 56, but that’s about it.
Menifield, who was originally expected to fight Nicolae Negumereanu at UFC Vegas 56, will now be tasked at welcoming light heavyweight prospect Askar Mozharov to the Octagon. It’s a change that Menifield gladly welcomed, but now he’s scrambling to figure out who Mozharov truly is and what’s he capable of doing inside of the cage.
Menifield’s uncertainty about Mozharov comes after the Ukrainian fighter’s record was exposed earlier this week. Mozharov’s falsified record was adjusted from 25-7 to 21-12 and then all the way down to 19-12 in just a span of a few days. This came after some in-depth research by the team over at Sherdog as they tracked down events in which Mozharov “competed,” but was nowhere to be seen.
It’s a unique situation that we’ve never really seen on the professional MMA level and one that has left Menifield scratching his head.
“It’s preposterous,” Menifield told reporters during UFC Vegas 56’s media day (h/t MMA Junkie). “Madness. It’s hard, I don’t know what to think. So, I don’t want to insult him, but I’m like, are you for real about fighting or are you not? I’m curious to see how he’ll fight Saturday. When you’re in there, there’s no more posing. This is what it is, it’s a fight, and this is the highest level. So, we’ll see.”
Unfortunately for Menifield, there isn’t much footage on Mozharov either. This has limited Menifield’s ability to prepare for his short-notice replacement and put together a proper game plan for Saturday night.
“I played linebacker, so we always study film, but this guy is like invisible on the internet,” Menifield said. “Good job with his team for making him a secret. … I found a little bit, so I was able to pick up something from him, so we’ll see it Saturday night.”
UFC Vegas 56 will go down later tonight (Sat., June 4, 2022) live on ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will feature a heavyweight headliner between contenders Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Menifield and Mozharov will collide on the ESPN+ main card.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 56 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN+) at 4 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 56: “Volkov vs. Rozenstruik” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.