Diego Lopes’ goal at UFC 300: Submit Sodiq Yusuff, call out Movsar Evloev

Diego Lopes plans on calling for a rematch with Movsar Evloev after his UFC 300 bout with Sodiq Yusuff on Saturday in Las Vegas.

The Brazilian featherweight made his UFC debut on short notice against the undefeated Russian in May 2023, and he came close to submitting Evloev before losing a decision. Lopes has since scored first-round submissions of Gavin Tucker and Pat Sabatini to emerge as a top UFC prospect, and he feels he’s now in a position to call for a rematch.

“The goal is clear,” Lopes said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “The goal is to win the fight with Sodiq, put on a good performance, and ask for a rematch with Movsar Evloev. He’s ranked No. 5 and it’s a fight everybody wants to see again, me with full camp and him with a game plan focused on me. It would be very interesting to watch.“

“I’m the one who came the closest to submitting him in many occasions,” he added. “I’m not taking anything away from him winning the fight, but if you break it down, I was the one that was always looking for the finish. [My plan is to] win this fight against Sodiq with a good performance and ask for my rematch with Movsar Evloev, and it’s highly likely that it happens.”

Evloev has only fought once since his match with Lopes, scoring a decision victory over Arnold Allen. Evloev holds a UFC record of 8-0, with eight decisions over the likes of Dan Ige, Hakeem Dawodu, and Nik Lentz. Lopes has pocketed bonuses in all three of his own octagon appearances.

“He won’t be able to say nobody wants to fight him, because I’m here,” Lopes said. “I want to fight him. All I need is an opportunity and a full camp. I know many people in this division don’t want to fight him, [but] I do. I want to show that this fight could have been way different with a full camp. With the experience I’ve gained from my last fights and the one I’ll have now, this fight has everything to be more exciting than the first.”

For now, Lopes is focused on the task ahead. He plans on becoming the first man to submit Yusuff, who’s won six of eight bouts in the UFC and never been finished under the promotion’s banner.

“He’s a complete guy who has only lost to the best of the division — Arnold Allen and Edson Barboza, a legend of the sport,” Lopes said. “It’s a good matchup for me because he comes forward looking for the finish and so do I. It’s going to be a fun fight. We have his style mapped out, so we’ll play the right game to get where we want, which is the submission. We’re ready for every situation. Like Gavin Tucker had never been submitted before, we plan on adding that to Sodiq’s record too.”