Modestas Bukauskas is back in the UFC thanks to a short-notice opportunity in Australia.
Bukauskas (13-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) will take on Tyson Pedro (9-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in less than three weeks at UFC 284 in Perth. His management team announced the matchup on Twitter late Wednesday.
Bukauskas will step in for Mingyang Zhang (16-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who was set to make his promotional debut after the Road to the UFC series in China.
UFC 284 takes place Feb. 11 (Feb. 12 in Australia) at RAC Arena in Perth. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
🚨 #TeamIridium Fight News 🚨
It’s Comeback Season for our man @balticgladiator as he makes his highly anticipated return to the @ufc‘s Octagon vs. Tyson Pedro on Feb. 12 ✍🏽 #TheDarkside pic.twitter.com/N9ZGAUxAHd
— IridiumSportsAgency (@TeamIridiumISA) January 26, 2023
Bukauskas, a 28-year-old England-based Lithuanian, won his UFC debut in July 2020 with a TKO against Andreas Michailidis. But then he hit a big-time slump with three straight losses to Jimmy Crute, Michal Oleksiejczuk and Khalil Rountree.
Bukauskas found himself outside the UFC after that, and after a 14-month layoff, he picked up a win over Lee Chadwick at Cage Warriors 145. That victory was enough to get a vacant light heavyweight title fight against Chuck Campbell this past New Year’s Eve. Bukauskas won the belt with a fourth-round knockout.
Australia’s Pedro returned to the UFC in April 2022 after a layoff of about 40 months. After three losses in four fights to Ilir Latifi, Ovince Saint Preux and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Pedro was inactive from late 2018 until his return with a TKO win over Ike Villanueva.
This past August, the 31-year-old made it two straight in the first roundn when he took out Harry Hunsucker with a 65-second TKO at UFC 278. Now he’ll go after three in a row against a promotional newcomer.
With the addition, the UFC 284 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
- Champ Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski – for lightweight title
- Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett – for interim featherweight title
- Randy Brown vs. Jack Della Maddalena
- Parker Porter vs. Justin Tafa
- Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN, ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)
- Modestas Bukauskas vs. Tyson Pedro
- Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Josh Culibao
- Kleydson Rodrigues vs. Shannon Ross
- Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET)
- Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
- Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. TBA
- Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
- Blake Bilder vs. Shane Young
- Elves Brenner vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 284.