Sumudaerji has not been seen or heard from since his decision loss to Matt Schnell. That fight was nearly 18 months ago and the reason for the Chinese fighter’s absence became clear this week.

He returns to the octagon at UFC Vegas 83 this weekend and revealed the reason behind his extended absence in the build up. Sumudaerji picked up a $50,000 USD performance bonus during the loss to Schnell and revealed that he was fighting with a serious knee injury,

“I tore my ACL two weeks before my last fight so my cardio was a problem and I lost the fight,” he told

Last minute

This weekend he faces Tim Elliott in a bantamweight bout. This fight was put together at the very last minute when Sumudaerji’s original opponent pulled out.

The show was originally supposed to take place in Shanghai but got moved to Las Vegas. The 27 year old has had a dreadful run of luck which might explain why the matchmakers were so determined to keep him on the card.

In 2020 he saw a fight fall though due to China’s draconian Covid-19 travel restrictions. He would only get to compete once that year and then suffered a knee injury in 2021 that ruled him out for several months.

Last year Sumudaerji saw a fight with Manel Kape fall through when the former Rizin bantamweight champion failed a drug test. Assuming nothing else goes wrong between now and Saturday he will have fought three time in three years.


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Always changing

He had originally been booked to face Allan Nascimento in a flyweight fight but Sumudaerji is happy to move up to bantamweight to take on Elliott as long as the bout actually goes ahead,

“My opponents change all the time but one thing never changes, fighting on the weekend.”

It sounds like Sumudaerji doesn’t really care who is standing opposite him as long as he gets to finally compete. He has moved to California to prepare for this contest and is fighting out of Team Alpha Male.

Sumudaerji is training alongside UFC Vegas 83Song Yadong who headlines UFC Vegas 83. He says the Chinese bantamweight has helped him a lot,

“I train with him every day, Urijah Faber is in the UFC Hall of Fame and he shares his experience with me a lot. Coach Danny (Castillo) teaches me a lot about wrestling. All of this is helping me a lot.”

Piece of luck

He has three wins from his five UFC fights. It is a respectable record but when he signed for the promotion back in 2018 Sumudaerji would have hoped to compete more than once a year.

Elliott is a former title contender and is ranked at flyweight, unlike Nascimento. We don’t know what sort of shape he is in but Sumudaerji will be hoping to face an opponent who isn’t properly prepared.

He could use a break, and getting to fight a former title challenger at the last minute could turn out to be the piece of luck that relaunches Sumudaerji’s UFC career.