In a bizarre plot twist, reigning UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway will no longer be the opponent of Khabib Nurmagomedov at “UFC 223.” Challenging the undefeated Russian fighter for the UFC Lightweight World Champion title is Anthony Pettis.
UFC President Dana White has yet to make the official statement. But Holloway took to Twitter to announce that he was pulling out of the competition and to give a message to Nurmagomedov and Pettis.
Originally, Nurmagomedov was supposed to challenge reigning Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson. On April 1, 2018, White announced that Ferguson would no longer compete at “UFC 223” because of a knee injury and Holloway was announced as the replacement.
On April 3, 2018, Nurmagomedov and his crew cornered Artem Lobov at their host hotel in Brooklyn. Lobov, who was set to fight Alex Caceres at “UFC 223,” is a close friend and SBG Ireland teammate of Conor McGregor.
On April 4, 2018, White announced that the winner of the bout between Holloway and Nurmagomedov will become the new UFC Lightweight Champion. The UFC President also confirmed that McGregor will be stripped of the belt.
On April 5, 2018, McGregor, along with his crew including Lobov, made a surprise appearance at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and attacked the bus carrying Nurmagomedov and other “UFC 223” red corner fighters including reigning UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas, Al Iaquinta, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa.
Both Borg and Chiesa were injured so they both had to pull out of the competition. Borg was supposed to compete in the flyweight division against Brandon Moreno while Chiesa was set to compete in the lightweight division against Pettis.
On April 7, 2018, Nurmagomedov and Pettis will headline “UFC 223.” It will be co-headlined by Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
During the weigh-in, Pettis weighed 155.2 lbs on first attempt and was given 2 hours to make weight. Here is a video of him stepping on the scale: