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Marlon Vera to face short-notice replacement Nohelin Hernandez at UFC 239

Nohelin Hernandez (pictured, blue gloves) fights Marlon Vera at UFC 239 in Las Vegas on Saturday
Amy Kaplan, Legacy Fighting Alliance

It wasn’t the opponent he’d been chasing, but Marlon Vera will compete this weekend at UFC 239.

Officials have announced that Nohelin Hernandez (10-2) is stepping in on less than one week’s notice to fight Vera on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 25-year-old bantamweight is replacing Sean O’Malley, who was forced to withdraw from the bout when the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruled him ineligible to compete due to traces of the banned substance ostarine resurfacing in a test conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

According to O’Malley, the USADA is not sanctioning him, but the NSAC is requiring further testing before he can fight again.

Prior to being signed by the UFC, Hernandez was scheduled to fight Anthony Birchak in the main event of Legacy Fighting Alliance 72 on July 26. It is not known yet who that organization will find to replace Hernandez.

Vera (15-5-1) will be seeking his fourth straight win, having finished his last three opponents. Most recently, he defeated Frankie Saenz by first-round TKO at UFC Nashville in March.

Prior to his replacement opponent being announced, “Chito” had expressed some frustration over the UFC not giving him an update on his status for UFC 239 in the wake of the O’Malley news.

From this past Sunday:

Hernandez, who has competed for LFA, Bellator, and Tachi Palace Fights, is on a four-fight win streak, all decisions. In his last fight, he defeated Kyle Reyes by split decision at a Tachi PF show last November.