Beneil Dariush out of his fight due to injury
Photo: MMA News

Lightweight contender Beneil Dariush is out of his fight with Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 49 on Saturday. People will have to wait for one of the most anticipated non-title bouts of 2022. Dariush’s withdrawal was allegedly due to an ankle issue. Later,

ESPN announced that fellow lightweight Bobby Green would enter the fight, albeit no weight limit had been set. The news was initially reported by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting. He said,

“Next week’s Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush main event fight is off, sources say,” Helwani said. “Dariush injured his ankle and was forced to withdraw. No word yet on if Makhachev will remain on the card and/or what’s the new Feb. 26 headliner.”

Dariush and Makhachev are rated third and fourth in the UFC’s lightweight divisions, respectively. In May, current champion Charles Oliveira will defend his title against Justin Gaethje. The winner of the fight on February 26 would have been a strong contender to face the winner.

Dariush is on a seven-bout winning streak, with his most recent fight coming in May against Tony Ferguson, a perennial title contender, and past interim champion. The degree of his injuries and when he will be able to return are uncertain. Dariush’s toe was trapped in the mat during a takedown in training, resulting in an ankle injury, according to another ESPN story.

Makhachev is on a nine-bout winning run and was hoping to win his first fight against a top-five ranked opponent in his quest for the UFC lightweight championship. Makhachev recently traveled to the United States to conclude his training camp alongside his colleague, former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose.

“I was heartbroken for Beneil. He worked his ass off for this fight,” Ali Abdelaziz said “All respect to Bobby Green’s team for stepping up and taking such a tough fight. Nothing but respect for him.”

Bobby Green has agreed to take Dariush’s spot in the main event versus Makhachev. According to ESPN, the fight will be fought at a 160-pound catchweight and will last five rounds, like with other UFC main events.

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