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Geoff Neal out; Bryan Barberena ready to face Shavkat Rakhmanov

After Geoff Neal was forced to withdraw from his highly anticipated fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC Fight Night 217 due to injury, many believed it would be nearly impossible to find a replacement with just over two weeks' notice.

There haven't been many individuals appealing for the assignment against the undefeated rising contender, but Bryan Barberena is one person who has put his hand up in the hopes of getting the match.

The catch to Barberena's availability is his inability to compete at the welterweight limit, where the original fight with Neal was set. Barberena (18-9 MMA, 9-7 UFC) stated that he is ready to fight and suggested a fight with Rakhmonov (at a catchweight of 180 pounds).

Barberena, 33, is coming off a submission loss to former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos earlier this month at UFC on ESPN 42. His three-fight winning streak, which includes a TKO of Robbie Lawler and decisions over Matt Brown and Darian Weeks, was ended.

Rakhmonov, 28, has defeated all four of his octagon opponents, including notables Neil Magny and Alex Oliveira. He accepted Barberena's offer and stated his desire to book the match.


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