Bryce Mitchell will be staying on UFC 288 after all.
Things were looking iffy for “Thug Nasty” after his original opponent, Jonathan Pearce, pulled out of their Featherweight bout in Newark, New Jersey. But, with three weeks left before the May 6, 2023, pay-per-view (PPV) card (see it here), UFC has put together a pretty solid replacement: Movsar Evloev.
It’s a step up in competition for Mitchell, whose original opponent, Pearce, was unranked. In comparison, Evloev is ranked No. 10 at 145 pounds (one spot above No. 11 Mitchell). But, say what you will about Mitchell’s quirky opinions, the man has never shied away from a tough fight.
Mitchell and Evloev were supposed to fight back in Nov. 2022, but an injury to the Russian fighter nixed that bout. “Thug Nasty” ended up being shifted forward a few weeks to fight on UFC 282’s PPV against Ilia Topuria. That fight didn’t go Bryce’s way. He ended up getting dominated and submitted (watch highlights), although he blamed the defeat on being sick with the flu.
“I was just really sick — I shouldn’t have took the fight,” he said afterward. “I’m just telling you, a fifth-grader could’ve whooped my ass that night.”
This fight against Evloev is a good opportunity for Mitchell to prove that he’s got what it takes to be a top name at Featherweight. Evloev is perfect (16-0) with six wins in UFC. Mitchell is 15-1, with the sole blemish his sick day against Topuria. While we were looking forward to a grappling extravaganza between Mitchell and Pearce, this fight is a more relevant scrap between hungry 145-pound up-and-comers.
And if you can’t wait until May 6 to see Mitchell, we have good news for you. He’s featured in a new flat earth documentary called “Level With Me,” which is set to come out next week.
“Hey yall!! im n a flat earth film it comes out n a week,” Mitchell wrote on Instagram. “Its another Hibbeler Productions masterpiece. if yall dont know by now, NASA is fraudulent. They’re evil. thats why their logo is the tounge of a snake. They make up lies like big bang and moon landins cause the elites dont want you to worship God!
“If you’re interested check out the film next week,” he continued. “If not, just do your own research. True research will lead you right back to Jesus like it did me!!!”
Just saying it again: Mitchell doesn’t pick fights that are easy to win. In the cage or in the realms of science.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 288 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 288: “Sterling vs. Cejudo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.