UFC 290 fight cancellation: Life saving MRI stops bout just in time (UPDATED)

This weekend's UFC 290 PPV card has lost one of its top prospects and most thrilling action fighters just in the nick of time to save his opponent's life.

By: Zane Simon | 3 months ago

One of the most action-forward and fun performers on this weekend’s UFC PPV is off the card and just in time.

Jack Della Maddalena has been through hell this week trying to make it to fight night. The Aussie had originally been booked for a top-ranking welterweight bout against fast rising Renzo Gracie Philly product Sean Brady, before Brady was forced from the card with an undisclosed injury on June 30th. Instead, the UFC found a late replacement in Matt Brown training partner Josiah Harrell.

‘Muscle Hamster’ withdraws from UFC 290 card, will undergo brain operation

The ‘Muscle Hamster’ Josiah Harrell, as he’s otherwise known, is a 6-0 fighter training out of Immortal Martial Arts and Grove City BJJ in Ohio who most recently competed in the lightweight division. A former welterweight title holder with Ohio Combat League, Harrell took the bout against Della Maddalena on just a few days notice.

Harrell Made weight for the contest, coming in at 170.5 pounds and everything appeared set to go ahead as scheduled. Unfortunately, UFC Europe reports that that’s no longer the case. Harrell has been forced from the fight card due to a “medical condition.” UFC 290 will now go ahead with 13 bouts. No word yet on whether Harrell vs. Maddalena will be rebooked or if the UFC will look for another fight for the top ranked Aussie prospect.

UPDATE: MMAJunkie’s Nolan King reports that Harrell’s removal wasn’t down to anything so simple as a bad weight cut or a bout of COVID. In fact, a pre-fight MRI discovered that Harrell has a rare disease called Moyamoya Syndrome, which causes blocked arteries in the brain and can result in strokes. As a result, he will be undergoing surgery as soon as possible.

Stanford Healthcare advises that patients who undergo procedures to correct Moyamoya Syndrome tend to recover their strength and energy several weeks after surgery, and that once the procedure is completed it’s “very unusual” for patients to continue being at risk for a stroke due to the disease. Hopefully that means Harrell can make a swift recovery and return to UFC competition in the near future.

UFC 290 fight card, lineup, start time

This week’s PPV event takes place at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, NV. The event is set to be headlined by a featherweight title unification bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez. A flyweight title defense for Brandon Moreno, against former foe Alexandre Pantoja, is expected for the co-main event.

As a result of the fight cancellation an early prelims bout between Tatsuro Taira and Edgar Chairez has been moved into the ABC prelims slot formerly occupied by Maddalena vs. Harrell.

Here’s a look at the complete fight card as it stands now:


  • Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez
  • Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja
  • Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis
  • Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker
  • Bo Nickal vs. Val Woodburn


  • Robbie Lawler vs. Niko Price
  • Tatsuro Taira vs. Edgar Chairez
  • Yazmin Jauregui vs. Denise Gomes
  • Jim Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield


  • Vitor Petrino vs. Marcin Prachnio
  • Cameron Saaiman vs. Terrence Mitchell
  • Shannon Ross vs. Jesus Aguilar
  • Kamuela Kirk vs. Esteban Ribovics
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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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