Rafael Alves needs a new opponent for his first UFC appearance on Feb. 20 after featherweight Mike Trizano was forced out of the fight due to injury, multiple people with knowledge of the news informed MMA Fighting.
Trizano (8-1) has been sidelined due to a knee injury since his most recent UFC bout in May 2019, a submission defeat to Grant Dawson, but will have to wait a bit longer to make his return to action. A former Ring of Combat titleholder, Bellator veteran and The Ultimate Fighter season 27 winner is 2-1 in official UFC bouts.
Trizano’s manager Jim Walter from the YSK Agency issued a statement to MMA Fighting on Monday confirming his injury as well as the desire to return to action as soon as possible.
“It’s been a very frustrating experience for Mike Trizano,” Walter said. “Mike Trizano is not only the hardest worker in the room but he’s extremely gifted and talented. I consider all of our athletes fighters, athletes or competitors and Mike Trizano is a fighter and a competitor, which is very rare, I’d say maybe one percent overlap and that’s why it’s been so frustrating.
“He had that Grant Dawson fight, obviously it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Then he got hurt and he’s been out for a year and a half and with Covid, he’s been frustrated like everyone else. Then he had to have a knee surgery, we worked through that and that was fine but now he tweaked his ankle. A massive ankle injury. We think it’s ligament, hopefully doesn’t turn into bone. We’ve addressed some of the top physical therapists both privately and with the UFC and Zuffa cause this fight means everything to Mike and he wants it.
“He can’t tie his shoes. He can’t bend over. He was still willing to fight. My job is to pull him back in but Mike wants that fight. He’s had to cancel his wedding and he’s had to cancel a trip to Africa so it’s been an extremely frustrating year for him. So pulling out of this fight was one of the hardest decisions that we’ve had to make but we’re going to physical therapy and we are going to get better and make sure he can recover in the proper ways. Mike Trizano is hungrier than ever. He’ll be back.”
As of now, there’s no exact timeline for Trizano’s return as he recovers from the ankle injury but obviously it appears he’s anxious to get back to work.
Alves (19-9), a former Titan FC interim lightweight champion, earned a deal with the UFC after stopping Alejandro Flores with a guillotine at Dana White’s Contender Series in August 2020. He will cut down to 145 pounds for his UFC debut.