Bobby Green competes in the main event against Islam Makhachev

For the second week in a row, the UFC has been forced to scrap a key lightweight main event.

However, it didn’t take long to come up with a backup plan.

Beneil Dariush suffered an injury that will prevent him from facing Islam Makhachev in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 202 on February 26. The event is set to take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and stream on ESPN+.

As a result, Bobby Green agreed to replace Dariush (21-4-1 MMA, 15-4-1 UFC) against Makhachev (21-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC). The fight, which takes place at a catchweight of 160 pounds, will take place just two weeks after Green (29-12-1 MMA, 10-7-1 UFC) defeated Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 271.

The news of Dariush’s withdrawal from the fight was reported for the first time by MMA journalist Ariel Helwani. ESPN, broadcast partner of the UFC subsequently reported Green had accepted the replacement position.

Makhachev released a statement confirming the change of opponent and wishes Dariush well in recovering from the serious ankle injury he allegedly suffered in training (via instagram):

Different opponent, same goal. Also, I just want to wish Beneil a speedy recovery and good luck. I really believe that we will face each other in the future.

Соперник травмировался дали нового оппонента 26 февраля мы деле! 👊 #ufc

Makhachev, No. 6 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie lightweight rankings, was likely in line for a title shot with a victory over No. 5-ranked Dariush. It remains to be seen how a victory over Green might impact these plans.

The altered headliner follows UFC Fight Night 201 on Saturday, losing its best fight between former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev.

The latest UFC Fight Night 202 lineup now includes:

  • Islam Makhachev vs. Bobby Green
  • Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Rong Zhu
  • Hannah Goldy vs. Jinh Yu Frey
  • Joel Alvarez vs Arman Tsarukyan
  • Misha Cirkunov vs. Wellington Turman
  • Victor Altamirano vs. Carlos Hernandez
  • Terrance McKinney vs. Fares Ziam
  • Micheal Gillmore vs. Jonny Parsons
  • Priscila Cachoeira vs. Ji Yeon Kim
  • Josiane Nunes vs. Wu Yanan

Joseph K. Bennett