Taylor Lapilus is the UFC Vegas 84 fighter to watch

Taylor Lapilus triumphantly returned to the UFC in 2023. Now he looks to sustain his momentum.

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FRA-UFC-MMA-BATAMWEIGHT-LAPILUS-LOUGHRAN / JULIEN DE ROSA/GettyImages
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On Jan. 13, the world's largest MMA promotion will host its first event of 2024. UFC Vegas 84, is headlined by light heavyweight contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker, who went to a no-contest over an illegal knee at UFC 294. They aim for a decisive result against each other.

Elsewhere on the card, top flyweights Matheus Nicolau and Manel Kape run back a 2021 bout that the latter won by a split decision. Jim Miller gets a potential UFC 300 warmup against Gabriel Benitez. Deep down the card is one name to follow, bantamweight Taylor Lapilus.

Lapilus is in his second stint in the UFC, having had four fights between 2015 and 2016. He went a strong 3-1 then, but was surprisingly released upon the end of his contract. But that only strengthened his resolve to make it back to the Octagon.

Beginning in 2017, Lapilus went on a 7-1 stretch, winning titles in GMC, TKO, and Ares FC. Among the victims in that streak included former UFC flyweight challenger Wilson Reis and former WSOF challenger/Bellator veteran Josh Hill. Meanwhile, UFC scouts were taking notice, and in 2022 they invited him back to the promotion with a grand homecoming against Khalid Taha in Paris.

A hand injury spoiled that plan; but a year later, he finally got his wish, fighting Caolan Loughran in Paris and notched a unanimous decision win in his home country.

Taylor Lapilus draws Farid Basharat at UFC Vegas 84

Standing opposite Lapilus is Farid Basharat. His opponent joined the UFC via Dana White's Contenders Series, is undefeated in 11 fights, and boasts six submission wins. Basharat fought in Paris like his upcoming opponent, submitting Kleydson Rodrigues with an arm-triangle choke three fights earlier.

Both bantamweights each want to establish themselves as unmissable prospects in their division; and for either Lapilus or Basharat, a win will be a good way to do exactly that.

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