Max Holloway Deemed Medically Unfit To Compete, Pulled From UFC 223

Max Holloway Deemed Medically Unfit To Compete, Pulled From UFC 223

Undefeated UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov, will now face New York's own Al Iaquinta for the official lightweight title.

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway agreed to the short-notice fight but faced the toughest weight cut of his life.

The organization first planned for Anthony Pettis to step in and face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight Championship.

But at the press conference, UFC president Dana White said that while the New York State Athletic Commission does not consider this a title fight, the promotion does. You can also live-stream UFC 223 and the Nurmagomedov vs. Holloway main card on UFC.TV for $64.99. However, the NYSAC made the unpopular decision of not allowing Felder to fight Khabib because Felder was not ranked in the UFC rankings system.

Pettis lost his spot on the main card Thursday night when his opponent, Michael Chiesa, was pulled from UFC 223 because of facial cuts he suffered when the bus was attacked. Weighing in at 155.2 lbs as well, Pettis had presumably been given two hours to shed the 0.2 lbs needed for a title fight. Holloway and Nurmagomedov were fighting for the lightweight title left vacant by McGregor's almost 18-month absence.

Artem Lobov, a close friend of McGregor's, was pulled from the card for his involvement.

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Nurmagomedov won his previous fight, against Edson Barboza, via unanimous decision on December 30.

With Holloway out, that leaves the UFC in a hard situation while still trying to save the UFC 223 main event.

American fighter Max Holloway apologizes to the team of Habib Nurmagomedov for the inability to fight him in the ring.

After a one-year hiatus, the Russian returned to the Octagon at UFC 219. Iaquinta was expected to take on Paul Felder at UFC 223.

The UFC scrambled to find a new opponent for Nurmaogomedov (for the second time in a week), and ultimately, Iaquinta received the headlining spot.