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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Nolan King

First UFC event of 2024 hit with multiple changes

The first UFC event of 2024 has been hit with multiple lineup changes.

UFC Fight Night 234 takes place Jan. 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streams on ESPN+. The lineup currently sits at 13 fights.

Over the past three days, however, that number has fluctuated with three withdrawals and two additions, as follows:

Matthew Semelsberger replaces Bassil Hafez

Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Matthew Semelsberger (red gloves) fights Uros Medic (blue gloves) during UFC 291 at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Preston Parsons will now face Matthew Semelsberger rather than Bassil Hafez. It’s unclear why Hafez is out.

Parsons (10-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) looks to reenter the win column following a unanimous decision loss to Trevin Giles in March. Semelsberger (11-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) aims to snap a two-fight skid that includes losses to Jeremiah Wells and Uros Medic.

A person with knowledge of the change recently confirmed the news to MMA Junkie after an initial report by reporter James Lynch.

Yana Santos withdraws due to broken nose

Yana Kunitskaya

For the first time as a professional, Yana Santos has withdrawn from a fight.

Santos (14-8 MMA, 4-5 UFC) was scheduled to face Norma Dumont (10-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) but is out of the fight.

Two people with knowledge of the booking recently informed MMA Junkie of the change but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.

Santos posted on Instagram a broken nose is the cause for withdrawal. It’s unclear if Dumont will remain on the card.

Joshua Van replaces Denys Bondar

Jun 24, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Zhalgas Zhumagulov (red gloves) fights Joshua Van (blue gloves) in a flyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most highly-touted rising flyweights, Joshua Van steps into his third UFC fight on short notice, much like he did his promotional debut in June. He defeated Zhalgas Zhumagulov by unanimous decision then returned in November to defeat Kevin Borjas by split decision.

Van (9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) replaces Denys Bondar and fights promotional newcomer Felipe Bunes (13-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a former LFA flyweight champion who fights out of Fight Ready MMA in Scottsdale, Ariz..

Two people with knowledge of the booking recently informed MMA Junkie of the change but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.

The current UFC Fight Night 234 lineup

Russia’s Magomed Ankalaev (black) and Brazil’s Johnny Walker (green) compete in their Light Heavyweight bout during the Ultimate Fighting Championship 294 (UFC) event at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on October 21, 2023. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Magomed Anakalaev vs. Johnny Walker
  • Manel Kape vs. Matheus Nicolau
  • Gabriel Benitez vs. Jim Miller
  • Macy Chiasson vs. Ketlen Vieira
  • Mario Bautista vs. Ricky Simon
  • Brunno Ferreira vs. Phil Hawes
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta
  • Preston Parsons vs. Matthew Semelsberger
  • Gaston Bolanos vs. Marcus McGhee
  • Farid Basharat vs. Taylor Lapilus
  • Jean Silva vs. Westin Wilson
  • Felipe Bunes vs. Joshua Van
  • Nikolas Motta vs. Tom Nolan
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