The opening bout on the UFC 273 main card has been nixed.
UFC officials announced on Monday that middleweight prospect Nassourdine Imavov is unable to make his April 9th showdown with Kelvin Gastelum due to visa issues. No word yet on whether or not Gastelum will remain on the card or if he’ll get a replacement opponent.
Imavov (11-3) has won three of his four UFC appearances, including consecutive TKO finishes of Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shabazyan. His only loss was a decision against Phil Hawes, whom he hurt late but couldn’t put away to avoid going to the scorecards. The latest UFC rankings put the 26-year-old at #11 and not too far away from serious title contention.
Gastelum (16-8, 1 NC) has lost five out of his last six but remains in the middleweight rankings at #10. The Ultimate Fighter season 17 winner is coming off a unanimous decision loss to presumptive next title challenger Jared Cannonier last August. He’d previously suffered a decision loss to former champ Robert Whittaker. His only win since 2019 is a decision over Ian Heinisch.
While one fight fell through, a new one has been added to the card. A heavyweight matchup between Ilir Latifi and Aleksei Oleinik, initially scheduled for last weekend’s UFC Columbus main card before Latifi pulled out on fight day with a non-COVID illness, has been rescheduled for this event.
UFC 273 is headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung aka ‘The Korean Zombie.’ Men’s bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling rematches former champ Petr Yan in the co-main.
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