When was the last time a fight night went down without any issues at all? Might have to break out the history books to answer that question.
Yes, this weekend’s UFC 289 pay-per-view event from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, has suffered a few more changes in the days leading up to it. The card is down to 11 bouts in total—this after a light heavyweight contest left the card and a matchup was altered at flyweight. The evening still has an Amanda Nunes title fight in the headlining spot and Charles Oliveira appearing as well. Here’s what has changed.
Schnell withdraws from fight, replacement found
Flyweight Matt Schnell won’t be making his first appearance of the year this weekend. He has been pulled from his booking against David Dvorak, with promotional newcomer Stephen Erceg set to replace him.
Schnell put out a statement via Instagram recently, stating that he fractured a hand while sparring in recent weeks. “I tried to work around it but ultimately had to make the decision to push the fight,” he said in an Instagram Story.
Schnell was fighting to bounce back from a stoppage loss that he suffered against Matheus Nicolau in December.
Dvorak will now meet Erceg, an Australian who is entering the promotion with a record of nine wins and one loss. “Astroboy” has won his last eight fights, competing mainly in the regional promotion Eternal MMA. The West Australian reported the matchup recently.
Now with a new matchup in place, Dvorak will be fighting to avoid three consecutive losses. He had an unsuccessful 2022, dropping decisions to Matheus Nicolau and Manel Kape.
Daukaus vs. Rountree off, could be rescheduled
The light heavyweight debut of Chris Daukaus won’t be happening this weekend. His fight against Khalil Rountree has been removed from UFC 289 and could potentially be moved to a later date, per a report from MMA Fighting.
Daukaus planned to move down a division after suffering three straight finish losses against ranked heavyweight names. He was on a roll before then, putting together a flawless promotional record of four victories.
Rountree was scheduled to enter this weekend on the longest winning streak of his entire UFC career thus far. He made it three in a row in October, putting a stop to the momentum of Dustin Jacoby with a split decision win.
UFC 289’s main event that wasn’t
The recent changes to UFC 289 are not the first ones to happen. In fact, this card notably had a change of main event before.
It was previously planned that a trilogy fight between UFC Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes and former titleholder Julianna Pena would go down at this event. While the score in their series is even at one win each, Nunes’ recent victory over Pena was incredibly dominant and made many feel their rivalry was already done.
Conversations about whether the bout should or shouldn’t happen were put to bed then, however, when Pena withdrew from the fight. It was shortly thereafter revealed that fifth-ranked bantamweight Irene Aldana would get a title shot instead.
An updated look at UFC 289
UFC’s return to Canada – a country they have not visited since 2019 – unsurprisingly has a load of Canadians on it. Here’s how the updated lineup looks:
- UFC Bantamweight Championship: Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana
- Lightweight: Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush
- Welterweight: Mike Malott vs. Adam Fugitt
- Featherweight: Dan Ige vs. Nate Landwehr
- Middleweight: Eryk Anders vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
- Middleweight: Nassourdine Imavov vs. Chris Curtis
- Flyweight: Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Miranda Maverick
- Bantamweight: Aiemann Zahabi vs. Aoriqileng
- Featherweight: Blake Bilder vs. Kyle Nelson
- Flyweight: David Dvorak vs. Steve Erceg
- Strawweight: Diana Belbita vs. Maria Oliveira
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