Only days before the event is set to happen, Saturday’s UFC card has received a new matchup, as Alexander Romanov has been paired with Roque Martinez. The heavyweight bout was added to an official UFC website on Wednesday.
Martinez, like some of his training parters at Spike22 in Guam, had a career in Japan. Martinez was a champion on the regional scene of Japan, having held the DEEP Openweight Championship from 2017 to 2020.
He also competed five times in Japan’s leading MMA promotion, RIZIN Fighting Federation, including a 2018 bout against Mirko Cro Cop.
“[I’m] Always and forever grateful to Rizin for giving me opportunities … And once the travel ban is lifted. Best believe I will be always visiting Japan,” said Martinez in a series of Tweets on Thursday.
The matchup is now the fourth attempt to give Romanov a UFC debut. He was first booked in April against Raphael Pessoa, although that bout was scrapped due to COVID-19 cancelling events.
Matchups against Marcin Tybura and Marcos Rogerio de Lima were also previously cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Romanov has 11 wins as a pro, all of which have come via stoppage from 2016 to 2019.
Up to 13 fights in total, here’s how Saturday’s card now looks. The show is scheduled to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Bout 13: Michelle Waterson (17-8) vs. Angela Hill (12-8) (Strawweight)
Bout 12: Khama Worthy (16-6) vs. Ottman Azaitar (12-0) (Lightweight)
Bout 11: Andrea Lee (11-4) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (24-17) (Flyweight)
Bout 10: Billy Quarantillo (14-2) vs. Kyle Nelson (13-3) (Featherweight)
Bout 9: Ed Herman (24-14) vs. Mike Rodriguez (11-4) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 8: Matt Schnell (14-5) vs. Tyson Nam (19-11-1) (Flyweight)
Bout 7: Bryan Barberena (14-7) vs. Anthony Ivy (8-3) (Welterweight)
Bout 6: Roosevelt Roberts (10-2) vs. Matt Frevola (8-1-1) (Lightweight)
Bout 5: Sabina Mazo (8-1) vs. Justine Kish (7-2) (Flyweight)
Bout 4: Alan Patrick (15-2) vs. Bobby Green (26-10-1) (Lightweight)
Bout 3: Julia Avila (8-1) vs. Sijara Eubanks (5-4) (Bantamweight)
Bout 2: Alexander Romanov (11-0) vs. Roque Martinez (15-5-2) (Heavyweight)
Bout 1: Brok Weaver (15-5) vs. Jalin Turner (9-5) (Catchweight 165-lbs)