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Dan Hooker replaces Rafael dos Anjos, fights Islam Makhachev on short notice at UFC 267

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MMA: UFC 266 Weigh-Ins Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UFC lightweight veteran Rafael dos Anjos has been forced to withdraw from his Islam Makhachev fight at the upcoming UFC 267 pay-per-view (PPV) event, which takes place on Sat., Oct. 30, 2021 inside Etihad Arena on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, after injuring his knee and undergoing minor surgery.

More on that turn of events here.

Taking over for the former champ will be No. 6-ranked lightweight contender Dan Hooker, according to ESPN, who is less than a week removed from his unanimous decision victory over Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 in Las Vegas. That means the 21-10 “Hangman” will likely stay put in “Sin City” — or ship out early for Abu Dhabi — to avoid the restrictive and widely-panned COVID protocols in his native New Zealand.

Makhachev (20-1) has captured eight straight wins in the lightweight division, which includes his submission victory over Thiago Moises last July in Las Vegas. The performance pushed the Dagestani bruiser — the protege of former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov — to No. 5 in the 155-pound rankings. Turning away Hooker at UFC 267 could land Makhachev atop a very short list of qualified title contenders.

UFC 267 will feature reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz defending his 205-pound crown against surging veteran and former title challenger Glover Teixeira. In the bantamweight co-headliner, Cory Sandhagen and Petr Yan will collide for the interim 135-pound title, created in the absence of Aljamain Sterling.

For the rest of the UFC 267 fight card and PPV lineup click here.