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Ben Rothwell released from UFC, May 21 fight against Alexander Gustafsson canceled

UFC Fight Night: Rothwell v Rogerio de Lima Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Longtime UFC heavyweight veteran “Big” Ben Rothwell was released by the promotion this week, putting an end to his planned fight against former light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson at the upcoming UFC Vegas 55 event on May 21 in Las Vegas.

That’s according to a report from MMA Fighting.

The 40 year-old Rothwell (39-14) was looking to rebound from a first-round defeat after getting pounded into the loss column by Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Vegas 42 last November. The hot-and-cold IFL veteran managed to blast his way into the Top 5 just a few years back, but has since dropped five of his last eight.

No reason was given for his release and “Big” Ben has yet to comment.

Gustafsson, 35, jumped to heavyweight after losing consecutive bouts against Jon Jones and Anthony Smith. Unfortunately for the 18-7 “Mauler,” the savvy submission skills of Fabricio Werdum proved too much for the towering Swede, who succumbed to a first-round armbar back in summer 2020.

No word yet if Gustafsson will remain on the May 21 fight card.

UFC Vegas 55 will be headlined by the women’s bantamweight battle between former champion Holly Holm and rising contender Ketlen Vieira. Elsewhere on the card, Chase Hooper and Felipe Colares collide at 145 pounds.

To see the current UFC Vegas 55 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.