The UFC have officially announced the card for UFC 267 at the end of the month and there are some changes to it.
In a stacked card that is to be headlined by Jan Blachowicz defending his light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira, there is now set to be an interim bantamweight title fight in the co-main event slot while another major fight has had a short-notice step in too.
Originally the card was set to see Aljamain Sterling make the first defence of his bantamweight crown in a highly anticipated rematch against Petr Yan, following their first bout at UFC 259 which ended in the title changing hands via disqualification.
After that fight, Sterling underwent neck surgery for an injury he has had since his high school days from his wrestling background.
It was expected that he would be fine to fight, hence the rematch being booked but according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto the UFC doctors would not clear Sterling to fight on October 30th as he hasn’t yet recovered fully from the surgery and therefore the fight was scrapped.
In it’s place however will be an interim title fight that will see Petr Yan look to get gold wrapped around his waist once more, when he takes on Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267.
Sandhagen had been hotly tipped to face the winner of Yan and Sterling’s first bout after knocking out Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Island 5 and then Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 18. Because of the ending in that title fight however, Sandhagen opted to take a fight against former champion TJ Dillashaw rather than waiting around.
In what was a razor close fight, Dillashaw was able to earn the decision win in that one but he blew his knee out in the first round and was forced to undergo surgery meaning he is unavailable to fight. The UFC have now done the right thing and given Sandhagen the shot he had earned prior to his defeat.
Elsewhere on the card, Islam Makhachev was supposed to finally settle his beef with Rafael Dos Anjos in the lightweight division after months of back and forth on social media.
The Brazilian however was forced to undergo knee surgery in the last few weeks and the UFC have now confirmed he is out of that match up, and has been replaced by the recently victorious Dan Hooker.
Hooker fought just last week at UFC 266, battling against Nasrat Haqparast to a three-round decision win after a host of visa issues and problems trying to find an opponent for the card. But after getting back in the win column after two consecutive defeats, Hooker has jumped at the chance to fight a ranked opponent again.
Makhachev is currently on an eight-fight win streak in the UFC and has made waves in recent bouts, being cornered by Khabib Nurmagomedov and being tipped to become the next lightweight champion by ‘The Eagle’. He is currently ranked at number five at 155lbs and a win over Hooker will almost certainly put him into title contention for his next bout.
Full Card announced for UFC 267:
Jan Blachowicz vs Glover Teixeira – Light Heavyweight Title
Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen – Interim Bantamweight Title
Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker – Lightweight
Alexander Volkov vs Marcin Tybura – Heavyweight
Li Jingliang vs Khamzat Chimaev – Welterweight
Magomed Ankalaev vs Volkan Oezdemir – Light Heavyweight
Amanda Ribas vs Virna Jandiroba – Strawweight
Ricardo Ramos vs Zubaira Tukhugov – Featherweight
Albert Duraev vs Roman Kopylov – Middleweight
Shamil Gamzatov vs Michal Oleksiejczuk – Light Heavyweight
Makwan Amirkhani vs Lerone Murphy – Featherweight
Hu Yaozong vs Alen Amedovski – Middleweight
Magomed Mustafaev vs Damir Ismagulov – Lightweight
Tagir Ulanbekov vs Allan Nascimento – Flyweight
UFC 267 will take place live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on October 30th, with a prime-time European slot. The prelims are scheduled to begin at 4pm UK time, with the main card due to begin at 7pm UK time.