UFC Vegas 26 has lost it’s main event after TJ Dillashaw was forced to withdraw from the bout just over a week out.
Dillashaw was scheduled to make his return for the first time since his January 2019 defeat to Henry Cejudo after his USADA suspension for EPO expired, and was to take on top bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen in the main event.
The winner was expected to be the official next title challenger to Aljamain Sterling’s title, with the champion expected to face Petr Yan in a rematch once he recovers from neck surgery.
However that fight is now on the back burner after the former two-time bantamweight champion revealed in an Instagram post on Tuesday night that he would be unable to compete following a cut received in training.
According to Dillashaw, he was drilling in training and was met with an accidental headbutt by a teammate which opened up a big cut over his right eye. He posted a photo to go with the post showing the severity of the cut, while also stating he was hopeful of rescheduling the fight for as soon as possible.
Rather than find a new fight on short-notice for Sandhagen, the UFC are reportedly opting to bump the current co-main event up the card meaning that Michelle Waterson will headline once more against Marina Rodriguez.
The bout was initially scheduled to find the next opponent for the bantamweight champion after the title fight between Sterling and Yan at UFC 259 in March. But when that fight ended in a disqualification when Yan kneed Sterling while he was down, forcing the fight to end and a new champion to be crowned, UFC president Dana White confirmed that Yan would get an immediate rematch.
With Sterling undergoing neck surgery though, that fight has been put on the back burner until he is healthy which means this fight being postponed may not be the worst thing in the world in terms of blocking up the division.
Sandhagen is currently on a two-fight win streak after losing to Sterling at UFC 250, defeating Marlon Moraes by spinning wheel kick in the second round on Fight Island before knocking out Frankie Edgar with a flying knee in the first round at UFC Vegas 18.
Dillashaw was on a four-fight win streak, including winning and defending the 135lbs title against Cody Garbrandt before he tried to move down to flyweight to become a dual-champion. He was knocked out by Cejudo in just 32 seconds though, before it was revealed post-fight that he had tested positive for EPO and was suspended for two years, relinquishing his bantamweight title as a result.