Unbeaten Movsar Evloev wants summer return vs. big name – preferably original Bryce Mitchell matchup from UFC 288
NEWARK, N.J. – Movsar Evloev had his work cut out for him Saturday in New Jersey.
Evloev (17-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC), the biggest favorite on the card at UFC 288 in Newark, needed 15 minutes to outpoint featherweight promotional newcomer Diego Lopes (21-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who stepped in for Bryce Mitchell on just a few days’ notice – and put the unbeaten Evloev in some precarious positions with submission attempts throughout the fight.
“I was thinking, ‘I will finish this guy,'” Evloev said at his post-fight news conference. “Every second, I was working for that. But that kid was tough. He’s a tough opponent. He’s dangerous on the ground and he has heavy punches. It was a big risk for me.”
Evloev was as much as a 10-1 betting favorite at Prudential Center, but had to escape with a 30-27 scorecard and a pair of 29-28s. The bout was UFC 288’s Fight of the Night, which was worth an extra $50,000 each for Evloev and Lopes.
Evloev said Lopes’ submission attempts were solid, but nothing that had him in what he thought was any danger.
“(They were) not close, but my ground control is top level, even if I don’t use some submissions,” Evloev said. “I don’t let someone submit me. My sparring (partners), some try to take some submissions, but I’m flexible and I’m stable and no one can submit me.”
Evloev said he wants a quick turnaround – and wants to be rebooked against his original UFC 288 opponent, Mitchell.
“I want to fight in the next two months with someone who has a big name, big ranking in our division – no more no-names – maybe the end of June or beginning of July,” Evloev said. “I’m completely healthy and I need only two weeks for rest. Maybe they organize the fight with Bryce again. I’m ready.”
Check out the full interview with Evloev in the video above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 288.