Injuries may have altered two bouts on next Friday night's UFC Albany card, but two Octagon newcomers have stepped in to make sure pivotal matchups in the light heavyweight and strawweight division proceed as scheduled on Dec. 9.
At 205 pounds, unbeaten Russian prospect Saparbek Safarov makes his first trip to the Octagon, and he will look to keep his perfect record and finishing streak intact as he steps in for the injured Pat Cummins to battle Empire State favorite Gian Villante, who has won three of his last five bouts, earning two Fight of the Night bonuses in the process.
In the strawweight division, the return of TUF 23 winner Tatiana Suarez will have to wait, as she was forced from her bout against Juliana Lima due to injury. Replacing Suarez will be her TUF 23 castmate JJ Aldrich, who will now face the Brazilian contender next week.
In the UFC Fight Night main event, which airs on UFC FIGHT PASS from Times Union Center, Derrick Lewis faces Shamil Abdurakhimov.