A key light heavyweight bout between Volkan Oezdemir and Alexander Gustafsson has been scratched.
After having his bout with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua moved from Chile and then to Germany, Oezdemir agreed to be the welcoming committee for Gustafsson’s return to the Octagon after more than a year on the sidelines. The bout was slated to be one of the featured fights at UFC 227 on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles.
With Gustafsson ranked No. 1 in the UFC light heavyweight division and Oezdemir sitting at No. 2, the winner would have made an almost undeniable case for a shot at current champion Daniel Cormier. That’s also assuming that Cormier eventually defends the belt, which isn’t a given considering he just wont the heavyweight title and is expected to put that on the line in a blockbuster bout with Brock Lesnar in early 2019.
The Gustafsson vs. Oezdemir bout was canceled, however, after Oezdemir had to withdraw because of an undisclosed injury. Sources confirmed Oezdemir’s withdrawal to MMAWeekly.com’s Damon Martin, following an initial report by ESPN.
UFC officials are currently trying to come up with a replacement to keep Gustafsson on the fight card, although it took a lot of maneuvering to finally get to Oezdemir, so it won’t be an easy task.
UFC 227 is headlined by two title fights. Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is set to put his belt on the line in an immediate rematch with Cody Garbrandt in the headlining bout. The co-main event features flyweight titleholder Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in a rematch with Henry Cejudo.