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Tatsuro Taira vs. Carlos Candelario late scratch from UFC Vegas 53 fight card

UFC Fight Night: Font v Vera Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Hours before UFC Vegas 53 was set to begin, the event lost its intriguing flyweight opener.

Promotional officials announced on Saturday that the bout between newcomers Tatsuro Taira and Carlos Candelario was scratched from the card at the APEX “due to an illness” with Candelario.

As a result, the fight has been shifted to the promotion’s May 14 event, which is set to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic.

Taira has won all 10 of his professional bouts, most of them taking place in the Shooto promotion where he captured their flyweight title with a first-round submission this past April. The 22-year-old has finished nine of his victories — eight of those in the first round.

Candelario (8-1) recently had his eight-fight winning streak snapped on Dana White’s Contender Series in August, losing a controversial split decision to Victor Altamirano. Despite the loss, the UFC president awarded Candelario a contract after his second appearance on the show. After earning a unanimous decision win on the Contender Series in August 2017, “The Cannon” dealt with a litany of injuries that kept him out of action for four years, leading to a decision win at CES 63 — less than a month before his DWCS bout.

The event will move forward with 11 bouts, including the main event between ranked bantamweights Rob Font and Marlon Vera.