Bryce Mitchell out of UFC 288; Diego Lopes steps in to fight Movsar Evloev

Just five days away from UFC 288, the pay-per-view event has experienced one more significant shakeup.

Bryce Mitchell is out of his fight with Movsar Evloev. As a result, promotional newcomer Diego Lopes will step in on five days’ notice to meet Evloev on Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed the change to MMA Junkie on Tuesday after an initial report by ESPN Deportes. The people spoke anonymously since the UFC has yet to make an announcement.

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The pair of top UFC featherweights were originally scheduled to fight one another in November, but Evloev withdrew due to injury.

It’s unclear what caused Mitchell’s removal from UFC 288 on such short notice. In the first episode of “Embedded,” which filmed this past Saturday, Mitchell is featured on his farm in Searcy, Arkansas. As he enters an ice bath, his shoulder and elbow appear to be purple or severely bruised, but Mitchell never indicated he was hurting.

“It’s been a long, hard training camp,” Mitchell said to the camera. “Everything in training went really good. I’m excited, I’m healthy, I’m in great shape.”

Mitchell (15-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), 28, originally was booked to fight Jonathan Pearce at UFC 288, but Pearce withdrew due to injury last month. Mitchell was looking to rebound from his first UFC loss, a second-round submission defeat to Ilia Topuria at UFC 282 in December.


Evloev (16-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), 29, is undefeated as a professional with notable victories over the likes of Dan Ige, Hakeem Dawodu, and Enrique Barzola among others.

For Lopes, the 28-year-old will make his UFC debut on just five days’ notice. He holds a 21-5 record overall and has won three of his past four bouts. He previously failed to secure a UFC contract when he made an appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021, losing to Joanderson Brito on the show.

In addition to this change, UFC 288 also lost its original co-main event last month after former lightweight champ Charles Oliveira withdrew from his fight with Beneil Dariush.

Below is the updated UFC 288 lineup:

  • Champ Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo – for bantamweight title

  • Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns

  • Jessica Andrade vs. Yan Xiaonan

  • Movsar Evloev vs. Diego Lopes

  • Kron Gracie vs. Charles Jourdain

  • Drew Dober vs. Matt Frevola

  • Devin Clark vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu

  • Rolando Bedoya vs. Khaos Williams

  • Virna Jandiroba vs. Marina Rodriguez

  • Parker Porter vs. Braxton Smith

  • Ikram Aliskerov vs. Phil Hawes

  • Rafael Estevam vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov

  • Joseph Holmes vs. Claudio Ribeiro

  • Johnny Munoz vs. Daniel Santos

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 288.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie