Khabib Nurmagomedov will remain on next week’s UFC on Fox 19 card in Tampa, though no longer in the main event after the injury to Tony Ferguson.
The Russian lightweight contender wanted to fight given he’s been out of action for two years, and on Thursday the UFC announced that he’ll take on newcomer Darrell Horcher in a 160 lb. catchweight fight.
Donald Cerrone had offered his services for the fight, and both fighters publicly stated that they’d signed agreements for the bout at 170 lbs., but for whatever reason that’s not the fight the UFC is going with. Instead, the undefeated Nurmagomedov will try to make Horcher a tune up for a potential title fight.
Ferguson, who was forced out due a freak injury that caused blood and fluid to fill his lung, had hoped Nurmagomedov would wait out his expected May return, but the Russian was unwilling to wait if the UFC could find him an opponent. In Horcher, they’ve found a 12-1 opponent who has won five straight overall. The Bellator vet’s sole loss came against former UFC fighter and Ultimate Fighter competitor Philippe Nover in 2013.
Next week’s UFC on Fox 19 event comes to Tampa, Fla., and will now be headlined by the light heavyweight bout between Rashad Evans and Glover Teixeira. Nurmagomedov-Horcher will remain on the main card, alongside Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida and Tecia Torres vs. Rose Namajunas.
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