They name him “Golden Boy” for a purpose.

On a invoice that includes promising UFC debutants in former LFA middleweight champ Markus Perez, Serra-Longo product Merab Dvalishvili, and flyweight discovery Alex Perez, the highly-touted Lopez can even be making his maiden voyage to the Octagon within the main-card curtain-jerker of Saturday’s UFC Combat Night time 123 in Fresno, Calif.

Here is every part value understanding concerning the tantalizing prospect forward of his promotional debut:

Age: 23
Division: Bantamweight
Report: Eight-Zero (1-Zero DWTNCS)
Final Combat: Break up determination over Steven Peterson in Week 7 of DWTNCS

Background

Coaching out of Sacramento-based camp Group Alpha Male – a guild boasting former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and strawweight contender Cynthia Calvillo – Lopez minimize his enamel on the Golden State’s regional circuit after getting his hand raised below the Bellator banner in his professional debut in April 2014.

The 23-year-old competed primarily in WFC and longtime proving floor King of the Cage earlier than getting his shot on the huge present this previous August on the penultimate installment of Dana White’s Tuesday Night time Contender Sequence, the place he earned a UFC contract in a razor-close break up determination over a gritty former LFA titleholder in Steven Peterson.

He’ll make his first stroll to the Octagon with a handful of first-round stoppages and eight victories in as contests below his belt.

The Tape

Armed with a 73-inch attain, Lopez is at his finest in house, the place he can preserve distance because of his sharp jab and preserve his foes sincere by switching stances and mixing up his strikes. Adept as he is grown at choosing his dance companions aside from vary, the teen has made the flying knee a calling card of kinds, flashing stunning timing with the strike early in his battle with Peterson and an eight-second demolition of Rick James in March of final yr.

In his sophomore professional bout, a sweep of the scorecards over Drey Mitchell below the WFC banner, Lopez rode his jiu-jitsu to victory, nevertheless it was his stand-up that earned him the W at Peterson’s expense three years later. Ought to his desire for placing duels comply with him to the massive present, he’ll must shore up his defensive wrestling, as he struggled to struggle his means again to the ft when Peterson took him to the bottom away from the fence, a perpetual third leg for fighters to stave off takedowns.

The Debut

Fortunately for Lopez, the UFC’s blossoming bantamweight class boasts much more dance companions of his ilk than Peterson’s, and Albert Morales – who’ll welcome him to the Octagon at Save Mart Middle – isn’t any exception.

(Picture courtesy: Getty Photos)

The 26-year-old Morales ought to oblige Lopez with a leather-based trade and check his grappling ought to the newcomer’s mitts and knees get too cozy along with his chin. In what may lead to Lopez’s second straight break up verdict, count on the promising debutant to keep up distance and do his damnedest to maintain the ever sport Morales from moving into the pocket with regularity. He could eat extra photographs than he is accustomed to, however Lopez ought to move one of many stiffest checks of his mettle so long as he can dictate the vary.

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