Ilir Latifi’s medical problems kept him off UFC Columbus, and now they’ll prevent him from fighting at UFC 273.
The UFC confirmed on Thursday that the Swedish heavyweight’s rescheduled fight with Aleksei Oleinik has been nixed due to Latifi’s health. He made weight for UFC Columbus last week, only to have his fight cancelled on the day of the event due to what was termed a non-COVID illness. Evidently the two-week postponement was not enough to salvage the contest.
Stepping in to face Oleinik on April 9th in Jacksonville, FL is Jared Vanderaa (12-7), who is likely in desperate need of a win to keep his spot on the UFC roster. The Dana White’s Contender Series signing lost his UFC debut to Sergey Spivak in February 2021, picked up a decision win over Justin Tafa that June, but has since suffered consecutive losses to Alexander Romanov and Andrei Arlovski. Meanwhile, the 44-year-old Oleinik (59-16-1) is on a three-fight losing streak, most recently dropping a decision to Sergey Spivak last June. The submission specialist also had knockout defeats against Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus.
UFC 273 features two title fights, including a main event between men’s featherweight title champion Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung aka ‘The Korean Zombie.’ Men’s bantamweight titleholder Aljamain Sterling rematches former champ Petr Yan in the co-main event.
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