The pivotal Lightweight contender bout set to headline UFC Vegas 49, featuring Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush, is no more. The Feb. 26, 2022, ESPN+-streamed main event has fallen apart after an ankle injury suffered by Dariush in training has forced him out of the contest, according to Ariel Helwani.
“Next week’s Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush main event fight is off, sources say,” Helwani tweeted. “Dariush injured his ankle and was forced to withdraw. No word yet on if Makhachev will remain on the card and/or what’s the new Feb. 26 headliner.”
With the event just 1.5 weeks away, UFC was left scrambling for alternatives. However, recent reports (read it here) indicate that Bobby Green — fresh off a big win at UFC 271 last weekend — is in discussions to fill the void. Meanwhile, UFC Vegas 49’s co-main event will be a 185-pound Middleweight tilt between Misha Cirkunov and Wellington Turman.
Russia’s Makhachev had felt his current nine-fight win streak was enough to earn him a title shot following his last win over Dan Hooker in Oct. 2021 (watch highlights). Instead, the opportunity went to Justin Gaethje, who is expected to challenge division champion, Charles Oliveira, in April at UFC 274. Makhachev has looked relatively unstoppable during his current run, but taking a fight with anyone under these circumstances is always a gamble.
When it comes to the rankings, Dariush is actually the higher-ranked of the two, sitting at No. 3 with Makhachev directly behind him at No. 4. Dariush rides a seven-fight win streak that most recently saw him dispatch of Tony Ferguson via a dominant unanimous decision at UFC 262 in May 2021. Green is unranked, but is on a two-fight unbeaten streak and has won five of his last seven appearances.
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