Christmas Eve did not bring good news to top five ranked bantamweight Jimmie Rivera.
John Lineker, who was scheduled to meet Rivera at UFC 219 next weekend in Las Vegas, has been forced off the card due to injury.
Sources close to the contest confirmed the news on Sunday following an initial report from MMAFighting.com.
UFC officials are currently scrambling to find a replacement.
Marlon Moraes, who had previously asked for the fight with Rivera, immediately threw his name in the ring as he’s already willing to step up on less than a week’s notice to accept the matchup.
@JimmieRivera135 what’s up? Now it’s me and you. You can’t run anymore let’s do this @seanshelby @Mickmaynard2 @danawhite @ufc
— Marlon Moraes (@MMARLONMORAES) December 24, 2017
Moraes called out Rivera following his win over John Dodson in November but ultimately ended up with a fight against Aljamain Sterling earlier this month on short notice instead. Moraes won that fight by first round knockout and now he’s trying to get his third win in less than two months time.
As of now, UFC officials haven’t made any decision regarding Rivera’s opponent as the New Jersey native is en route to Las Vegas for fight week.
As for Lineker, there’s no word yet on the injury he sustained or how long he will be out of action. The heavy-hitting Brazilian had just returned to action with a win earlier this year after suffering a broken jaw in 2016.