UFC: Kiwi Blood Diamond locks in fight with Orion Cosce at UFC 275 in Singapore

Kiwi welterweight Blood Diamond will return for his sophomore Octagon outing against Orion Cosce at UFC 275 in Singapore on June 12 (NZ time).

The City Kickboxing product was originally scheduled to face Cosce in his promotional debut at UFC 271 at Houston in February, until the American withdrew for an undisclosed reason.

The 33-year-old instead faced replacement Jeremiah Wells, who consigned him to a quick first-round submission defeat - the first of his four-fight professional mixed martial arts career.

Californian Cosce (7-1) earned his spot on the UFC roster with a third-round knockout competing in Dana White's Contender Series. He made his official debut against Phillip Rowe in July of last year, falling to a second-round loss via technical knockout.

After shining as a kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter on the regional NZ circuit and in China, Zimbabwean-born Blood Diamond inked a multi-fight deal with the promotion last year.

The two-time 'King in the Ring' champion insisted he learned a valuable lesson that night at the Toyota Center, when an instinctive rushed attack to take advantage of his opponent's slip left him on the end of a fight-ending takedown.

Blood Diamond prior to his last bout.
Blood Diamond prior to his last bout. Photo credit: Getty Images

"The biggest lesson I learned from all of that is to be a bit more patient," he told Newshub.

"After rewatching the fight it was clear I didn't really need to do what I did. I basically played into his gameplan.

"I went into that 'fight or flight' mode instead of just staying calm and being in control. I want to be more in control the whole time, not just working off impulse.

"Otherwise, it's just one of those things. Yes it happened, get back to the gym to keep evolving and keep getting better. It's the fight game."

Desperate to atone for his mistake, Blood Diamond urged his management team to get him back inside the Octagon as quickly as possible, leading him on a path back to 27-year-old Cosce.

Having already laid the blueprint for 'Galaxy', it's now a matter of continuing to add to his arsenal against another hard-nosed, powerful wrestler.

"He'll be coming back just as hungry as I am," he said. "He's a scrapper.

"It's the same gameplan but I've learned a lot since my last fight so I'll be coming with more skills. So don't be surprised if I come in for that takedown and do some ground stuff.

"I'll just have to control the fight and make it my fight instead of letting him work his game."

The event at Singapore Indoor Stadium will be headlined by Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira's light heavyweight title defence against Czech phenom Jiri Procházka.

It also features a highly anticipated rematch in the women's strawweight division between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili, whose original title bout earned instant classic status and was unanimously voted 2020's fight of the year. 

Kiwi-born Australian Robert Whittaker was set to take on Marvin Vettori in a top-flight middleweight contest, until injury forced his withdrawal. A replacement opponent for Vettori is yet to be announced.