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Visa issues force Nassourdine Imavov out of Kelvin Gastelum bout at UFC 273

UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2 Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

UFC 273 next weekend (Sat., April 9, 2022) has suffered a significant blow.

The promotion announced on Monday (March 28, 2022) via its website that the Middleweight bout between former title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum, and rising contender, Nassourdine Imavov, is off. Visa issues were revealed as the culprit for Imavov — who competes out of France — as the reason for his inability to make it to Jacksonville, Florida.

Replacing the fight will be a match up that was canceled ahead of this past weekend’s UFC Columbus card, Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik, at Heavyweight.

LIVE! Watch UFC 274 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Phoenix, Ariz., on Sat., May 7, 2022, with a blockbuster championship doubleheader. Headlining the pay-per-view (PPV) event will be Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, seeking to defend his title against No. 1-ranked contender, Justin Gaethje. In UFC 274’s co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, looks to avenge her loss against No. 2-seeded, Carla Esparza. And top-ranked Lightweight contenders collide when Michael Chandler (No. 5) locks horns with Tony Ferguson (No. 7) in a fan-friendly 155-pound clash for the ages.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

The removal of Gastelum vs. Imavov is certainly a hard pill to swallow for both men, considering their positions. It’s been a rough stretch for Gastelum since putting on an instant classic alongside Israel Adesanya in April 2019. Including that bout, Gastelum is 1-5 in his last six appearances with that lone win coming against Ian Heinisch and preceding two recent defeats to Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier.

As for Imavov (11-3), he too holds a win over Heinisch, whom he finished with strikes in the second round of their July 2021 affair (watch highlights). To follow it up, he battered Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 268 in Nov. 2021 to once again score a second round stoppage (watch highlights).

Despite this late change to UFC 273, the card overall still holds up rather nicely:

  • 145 lbs.: (C)Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chan Sung Jung
  • 135 lbs.: (C)Aljamain Sterling vs. (IC)Petr Yan
  • 170 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev
  • 115 lbs.: Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres
  • 265 lbs.: Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • 135 lbs.: Raquel Pennington vs. Aspen Ladd
  • 170 lbs.: Ian Garry vs. Darian Weeks
  • 185 lbs.: Dricus Du Plessis vs. Anthony Hernandez
  • 265 lbs.: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Marcin Tybura
  • 170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. Mike Malott
  • 135 lbs.: Julio Arce vs. Daniel Santos
  • 155 lbs.: Mark Madsen vs. Vinc Pichel
  • 115 lbs.: Kay Hansen vs. Piera Rodriguez

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 273 fight card and line up click here.