The lineup for the UFC’s return to a venue it hasn’t played in more than a decade continues to grow with the addition of a new bantamweight bout.
Kyler Phillips (10-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is set to take on Raphael Assuncao (27-9 MMA, 12-6 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 221, which takes place March 11 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas. The UFC officially announced the bout in a press release Thursday.
The Virgin Hotels property, about a mile off the Strip, used to be Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and The Joint venue there hosted many UFC shows, as well as nearly a dozen WEC events. The most recent UFC show at the location came in December 2012 for the TUF 16 Finale. Before that, it was about six years between events.
The 27-year-old Phillips will return for the first time in more than a year. After a 3-0 start to his UFC tenure, including a pair of post-fight bonuses, Phillips dropped a majority decision to Raulian Paiva in a July 2021 Fight of the Night winner.
After seven months on the sidelines, he returned in February 2022 and submitted Marcelo Rojo in the third round to get back in the win column. He was scheduled fight Jack Shore in November, but Shore pulled out with a knee injury and Phillips was left without an opponent.
Assuncao, who turned 40 this past July, picked up a crucial win in October when he outpointed Victor Henry for a unanimous decision. It was his first victory in more than four years, when a UFC 226 decision over Rob Font gave him four straight wins, as well as 11 in 12 fights, and had him back on the cusp of title contention.
But a submission loss to Marlon Moraes in February 2019 started a four-fight skid that included a decision loss to Cory Sandhagen and knockout losses to former champion Cody Garbrandt and Ricky Simon. His victory over Henry put that rough stretch in the rearview mirror.
With the addition, the UFC Fight Night 221 lineup now includes:
- Petr Yan vs. Merab Dvalishvili
- Alexander Volkov vs. Alexandr Romanov
- Austin Lingo vs. Ricardo Ramos
- Raphael Assuncao vs. Kyler Phillips
- Vitor Petrino vs. Anton Turkalj
- Lukasz Brzeski vs. Karl Williams
- Mario Bautista vs. Guido Cannetti
- Tony Gravely vs. Victor Henry
- Abu Azaitar vs. Sedriques Dumas
- JJ Aldrich vs. Ariane Lipski
- Tyson Nam vs. Bruno Silva
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 221.