Rinya Nakamura faces a new opponent at UFC 298 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California on February 17 – a promotional newcomer Carlos Vera. The latter replaces Brady Hiestand, who was forced to withdraw due to injury.
The fight was first reported by MMA Junkie, citing “two people with knowledge”. The promotion is expected to make a formal announcement shortly.
Unbeaten “Road to UFC Season 1” winner Rinya Nakamura (8-0) is coming off the win by unanimous decision against Fernie Garcia last August in Singapore. In February 2023 in Las Vegas, the 28-year-old native of Saitama, Japan KO’d Toshiomi Kazama in the first round of the bantamweight tournament final and made his successful Octagon debut.
Carlos Vera (11-3) is riding a four-fight winning streak. NOLA’s 36-year-old last fought in September 2022 in Dallas, where he submitted Isaiah Gutierrez in the first round.
Vera participated in “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 31, being part of Team McGregor. He was eliminated by eventual season winner Brad Katona in an exhibition bout.
Last December, Vera was expected to fight Daniel Marcos on a short notice. The contest didn’t go ahead due to travel issues on side of the Peruvian bantamweight.
On the top of UFC 298 fight card, Australian Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight title against Ilia Topuria of Georgia. The co-main event pits New Zealand-Australia former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker against former title challenger Paulo Costa of Brazil.