One of the most anticipated fights of February has undergone a late switch.
Beneil Dariush has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled UFC Vegas 49 main event against Islam Makhachev on Feb. 26 after suffering an injury. MMA Fighting confirmed the news Wednesday following an initial report by Ariel Helwani.
Dariush on Thursday told ESPN.com he had suffered a broken fibula bone and was unsure on his timetable for return.
Per Beneil Dariush (@beneildariush), the injury he suffered on Tuesday is a broken fibula bone. Still no timeframe for his recovery. Surgery may be necessary, but he is still weighing options on treatment.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 17, 2022
As a result of Dariush’s withdrawal, Bobby Green has agreed to step in and face Makhachev on less than two week’s notice as UFC Vegas 49’s new main event, sources confirmed to MMA Fighting. Makhachev subsequently announced the new booking on social media.
ESPN first reported the switch. Green vs. Makhachev is expected to be contested at a catchweight.
Dariush and Makhachev were slated to meet in a No. 1 contender match to determine the next challenger for the UFC lightweight title, with the victor likely facing the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje, which is scheduled for May 7 at UFC 274.
The news is a tough blow for Dariush (21-4-1), who is currently tied with Makhachev as MMA Fighting’s No. 4 ranked lightweight in the world. The 32-year-old contender has won seven straight fights and dominated Tony Ferguson in his most recent outing in May 2021.
Makhachev (21-1), likewise, has won nine consecutive bouts. The protege of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev scored a first-round submission of Dan Hooker this past October to force his way into title contention.
However, one’s man misfortune is another man’s opportunity, and now Green (29-12-1) is set to step into the biggest fight of his career less than two weeks out from his decision victory over Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 271. Green enters the contest riding a two-fight win streak that also includes a first-round knockout of Al Iaquinta in November 2021 at UFC 268.
Damon Martin and Mike Heck contributed to this report.
This poll is closed