MMA Fighting confirmed with sources with knowledge of the change that Felipe Bunes is out of his fight with Zhumagulov, which takes place Saturday at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. This is the third straight booking that has fallen through for Zhumagulov, who lost two opponents (Nate Maness and Rafael Estevam) when he was supposed to compete at UFC 288 this past May.
According to the UFC, Bunes withdrew due to “medical issues.”
Zhumagulov first announced that his fight was off on Twitter, joking that his now-famous haircut may be the reason that Bunes pulled out.
This haircut is 2-0 in ufc even without appearing in the octagon. Another opponent doesn’t want to take his chance and pulled out ♂️ pic.twitter.com/kwvoFIsx2i
— Zhalgas Zhumagulov (@ZhakoZhumagulov) June 15, 2023
Fortunately for Zhumagulov, he won’t have to wait long for another chance to step in the cage. Zhumagulov has been re-booked to fight Joshua Van next Saturday at UFC Jacksonville, people with knowledge of the booking told MMA Fighting. Van was scheduled to compete on the Contender Series on Aug. 8 against Kevin Borjas, but he now skips that step and moves directly into the UFC.
The new booking was first reported by Eurosport.
Zhumagulov (14-8) hasn’t had much luck with the judges either as he has lost his past two fights by split decision and three straight overall. His UFC record sits at 1-5.
Van (7-1) is a 21-year-old flyweight prospect fighting out of Texas. In his most recent outing this past December, he claimed a vacant Fury FC title with a second-round submission of Cleveland McLean.
Mike Heck contributed to this report.