After their original date of Jan. 14 was scratched due to Neal (15-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) suffering an injury, the clash with Rakhmonov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) will now happen at UFC 285, which takes place March 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
Two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed the new date to MMA Junkie on Wednesday but asked to remain anonymous since the promotion has yet to make an official announcement. UFC broadcast partner ESPN first reported the news.
Neal, 32, rides a two-fight winning streak into the matchup. In August, he largely dominated Vicente Luque en route to a third-round TKO victory. His other key UFC victories include Belal Muhammad, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Niko Price, and Mike Perry.
Rakhmonov, 27, widely is regarded as one of the welterweight division’s top rising talents. As a result, he and his team have expressed frustration with finding opponents. Rakhmonov has four finishes in as many UFC appearances. The most recent was a submission of perennial contender Neil Magny in June.
The latest UFC 285 lineup now includes:
Derek Brunson vs. Dricus Du Plessis
Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas
Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett
Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci
Farid Basharat vs. Da’Mon Blackshear
Julio Arce vs. Cody Garbrandt
Mario Bautista vs. Guido Cannetti
Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Julian Marquez
Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.