The UFC is getting to work on its 2019 schedule, and the promotion’s first pay-per-view event of the upcoming year has just received a pair of lightweight matchups.
UFC officials announced on Tuesday that James Vick and Paul Felder, originally scheduled to fight earlier this year, have been rebooked for UFC 233 in Anaheim, California. In another lightweight contest, Islam Makhachev will take on veteran Francisco Trinaldo.
Vick (13-2) was slated to fight Felder at UFC Boise in July, but then replaced Al Iaquinta in the UFC Lincoln main event the following month, taking on Justin Gaethje. His first UFC main event proved disastrous, as Gaethje knocked him out in less than 90 seconds. It snapped “The Texecutioner’s” four-fight winning streak, and set him back in the lightweight title picture.
Felder (15-4) dropped a split decision to Mike Perry at UFC 226 in July, accepting the bout on short notice after Yancy Medeiros pulled out with an injury. He moved up to welterweight to face Perry, and suffered a broken forearm in a grueling battle. At lightweight, he’s won three straight, all by TKO, including a second-round elbow barrage vs. Charles Oliveira at UFC 218 last December.
As for the other matchup, Makhachev (16-1) is a talented prospect and a teammate of Khabib Nurmagomedov at American Kickboxing Academy. This year he’s scored a knockout win over Gleison Tibau and a submission victory vs. Kajan Johnson. His only defeat came against Adriano Martins in 2015. Curiously enough, Makhachev was one of the fighters involved in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl, so despite threats that those involved would be cut, Islam appears to be safe.
Trinaldo (23-6) is still competing at a high-level even at 40 years old. In September, the Brazilian spoiled Evan Dunham’s retirement fight with a sickening knee to the body. He’s also the most recent person to beat Paul Felder at lightweight, forcing a doctor’s stoppage TKO in round three after Felder suffered some nasty cuts that bled profusely. Trinaldo is 2-2 in his last four, with wins over the aforementioned Dunham and Jim Miller, and losses to James Vick and Kevin Lee.
UFC 233 takes place on January 26th at the Honda Center in Anaheim. No main event has been announced, but Ben Askren is slated to make his UFC debut against Robbie Lawler.