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

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.

LIVE! Watch UFC 281 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “The Fight Mecca,” Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 12, 2022, featuring two highly-anticipated championship showdowns. In UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, will look to settle the score with former kickboxing foe and No. 5-seeded contender, Alex Pereira. In the ESPN+-streamed PPV co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, intends to defend her newly-won title for the first time against former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Zhang Weili.

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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.

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