Thursday, July 25, 2024

UFC 303 fight card: Dan Ige steps for Brian Ortega hours ahead of matchup with Diego Lopes

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In a stunning move, Dan Ige is replacing Brian Ortega against Diego Lopes in the co-main event of UFC 303. The news broke during the UFC 303 broadcast, mere hours before the fight. Ortega fell ill with a fever on Saturday and was forced to withdraw.

Ige stepping in makes him the latest replacement opponent in UFC history and made for a highly unusual situation. The fight had already been added to the card as a late-notice replacement after the light heavyweight co-main event featuring Khalil Rountree vs. Jamahal Hill fell through after an injury to Hill.

Then, the night before Lopes and Ortega were set to weigh in, the Ortega camp said they would be unable to make the featherweight limit and the two teams agreed to move the fight to the 155-pound lightweight limit. Now, Lopes and Ige will meet at a catchweight of 165 pounds.

Ige was already preparing for a fight on July 20. As a local fighter who was already in training camp, he made for a reasonable addition to the card as a fighter already in preparation but stepping into a major opportunity on such short notice is unheard of and getting it past the commission is even more unlikely as Ige did not weigh in on Friday.

Shortly ahead of the announcement, Ige tweeted “So you wanna be a BMF?”

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