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Belal Muhammad has stepped up.
Two people with knowledge of the matchup informed MMA Junkie of the targeted booking but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.
Muhammad, 32, competed at UFC 258 this past Saturday when he defeated Dhiego Lima by unanimous decision. The win extended Muhammad’s winning streak to four, which also includes victories over Curtis Millender, Takashi Sato, and Lyman Good.
The upcoming fight will be Muhammad’s first UFC headliner.
Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC), No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie welterweight rankings, has not competed since July 2019 when he defeated former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision. The victory extended his winning streak to eight.
Since that time, Edwards was scheduled for four fights – and all four times, the matchups fell through. In March 2020, Edwards’ fight against former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was booked to fight Chimaev in December 2020, January 2020, and this upcoming card on March 13. All three of the bookings vs. Chimaev fell through due to COVID-19 issues. Edwards contracted the virus, which resulted in the first scheduled pairing falling through. The second and third fights fell through due to Chimaev’s ongoing battle with COVID-19-related issues.
The latest lineup for UFC Fight Night on March 13 now includes:
Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad
Davey Grant vs. Jonathan Martinez
Matthew Semelsberger vs. Jason Witt
Jinh Yu Frey vs. Gloria de Paula
Dan Ige vs. opponent TBA
Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart
Nasrat Haqparast vs. opponent TBA
Steve Garcia vs. Charles Jourdain
Ricardo Ramos vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
Ray Rodriguez vs. Rani Yahya
Philipe Lins vs. Ben Rothwell