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Two New Bouts Added to UFC on ESPN 53; Chris Barnett Withdraws From Event

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UFC on ESPN 53 has a few updates to its lineup, the promotion
announced in a release on Tuesday.

First, a middleweight clash between Edmen
Shahbazyan and Dusko Tudorovic has been added to March 23
card.

Shahbazyan signed with the
Ultimate Fighting Championship at the age of 20 and went 4-0 to
start his promotional tenure — including three first-round
stoppages. However, the once promising prospect has since lost four
of his last five, though all of his losses have come against
top-tier competition.

Meanwhile, Tudorovic has gone back and forth in his UFC journey
since his debut in 2020, notching a 3-4 promotional record. The
Serbian suffered a first-round technical knockout loss against
Chris Leroy Duncan due to a knee injury in his most recent outing
in March 2023.

Meanwhile, heavyweights Junior Tafa
and Karl
Williams, two competitors who made their promotional debuts
last year, will also clash at UFC on ESPN 53.

After starting his pro career with four consecutive finishes, Tafa
dropped a decision against Mohammed
Usman (in his UFC debut this past April. However, the
Australian knockout artist has since bounced back with a brutal
Round 1 knockout of Parker
Porter in August.

Meanwhile, Williams earned his contract with a decision win over
Jimmy
Lawson on
Dana White’s Contender Series 2022 and has since picked up
consecutive decision wins over Lukasz
Brzeski and Chase
Sherman to start his UFC journey.

UFC on ESPN 53 was also scheduled to witness the return of fan
favorite Chris
Barnett against the aforementioned Usman, who is the brother of
former UFC welterweight champ Kamaru
Usman. However, Barnett, who hasn’t competed since September
2022, has now pulled out of the matchup due to undisclosed reasons
and will be replaced by undefeated Brit Michael
Parkin.

Usman made his UFC debut with a brutal KO win over Zac Pauga and
has since picked up consecutive decision wins. Meanwhile, Parkin
will also enter the Octagon on the heels of back-to-back decision
wins in the UFC following a Round 1 submission win over Eduardo
Neves on
Dana White’s Contender Series 2022 in August 2022.

UFC on ESPN 53 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and is
headlined by a women’s flyweight clash pitting Amanda
Ribas against Rose
Namajunas.

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