After Garbrandt withdrew from their fight due to injury, Da’Mon Blackshear (14-5-1 MMA, 2-1-1 UFC) stepped in to face Bautista (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) on Saturday at TD Garden in Boston seven days after his most recent fight. While losing out on the opportunity to face a former champion wasn;t ideal, it didn’t take long for Bautista to forget about it.
“Pretty bummed out at first, but I’ve got to get over it quick and put him in the rear-view and focus on what was ahead,” Bautista told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during UFC 292 media day. “We were waiting for a new opponent, which I found out, I think it was Monday night before I took off and that was about it. Same process, though. We’re going to go out there and fight.”
Bautista’s focus was to remain on the big pay-per-view card. Blackshear may not be as big of a name as Garbrandt, but he’s riding momentum after a rare twister submission of Jose Johnson this past Saturday at UFC on ESPN 51 as he makes a historic turnaround.
“The only thing I wanted was to remain on the main card if possible, to keep the eyes on me,” Bautista said. “It was going to be a great fight with Cody, so that’s all I was looking for. I just wanted to have some eyes on me and have a great opponent. And Blackshear does have a little bit of shine from his past performance, so it worked out.”
A win over Blackshear would make it five straight for Bautista, who has quietly climbed the bantamweight ladder.
“I think Cody’s in the rear-view,” Bautista. “A win over Blackshear puts me in the top 15, and that’s not where Cody’s at. And I’m looking to move forward.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 292.