Conor McGregor pulls out of UFC 303 due to injury; Dana White reveals new main event.

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Dana White announced Thursday night that Conor McGregor will not be returning to the octagon at UFC 303, as he is out of his fight against Michael Chandler due to an injury. This news follows a report from MMA journalist Ariel Helwani earlier that day, which indicated that McGregor’s withdrawal was imminent and nearly a formality.

Helwani’s report suggested that while the fight wasn’t officially canceled at that moment, it was highly unlikely to proceed as planned. “It’s not 100% off but I’d be extremely surprised at this point if it remains and they are actively negotiating with multiple camps to find a replacement,” Helwani posted on X. “It’s all up in the air still but they are proceeding at this time like they need a replacement.”

The speculation was further fueled when McGregor hinted at his injury on his Instagram story on Wednesday night. Additionally, a scheduled news conference in Dublin, Ireland, on June 3 was abruptly canceled just 12 hours before it was set to begin, adding to the uncertainty surrounding McGregor’s status.

While the exact nature of McGregor’s injury remains unclear, his withdrawal from the main event has prompted UFC President Dana White to make significant adjustments to the fight card. With McGregor and Chandler no longer headlining the event, White announced a new co-main event to fill the void.

The updated main event will feature a highly anticipated clash between Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka. Pereira, known for his remarkable achievements, is the only fighter in UFC history to win both the middleweight and light heavyweight titles in just 736 days over seven fights—the shortest time span for such an accomplishment. Pereira has an impressive record, winning 10 of his last 11 fights, making him a formidable opponent.

Brazil’s Alex Pereira arrives for a middleweight bout against Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya at the UFC 281 mixed martial arts event on Nov. 13, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Jiri Prochazka, Pereira’s opponent, is a former light heavyweight champion with a notable career record of 30-4-1. Prochazka is known for his explosive fighting style, boasting 23 first-round victories, 25 wins by knockout, and three by submission, resulting in a 97% finish rate. His ability to finish fights quickly and decisively has made him a fan favorite and a highly respected competitor in the UFC.

Adding to the excitement of the new co-main event is a featherweight bout between Brian Ortega and Diego Lopes. Ortega, the No. 3-ranked featherweight, has the second-most finishes and the second-most submissions in featherweight history. With a record of 16-3, including eight total submissions, Ortega’s grappling skills and finishing ability make him a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division.

Ortega’s opponent, Diego Lopes, is also known for his finishing prowess. With an overall record of 24-6, Lopes has achieved 22 of his 24 victories by finish, including 10 knockouts and 12 submissions. His ability to end fights both on the feet and on the ground makes him a well-rounded and challenging adversary for Ortega.

This new lineup promises to deliver high-octane action and excitement for UFC fans, even in the absence of the highly anticipated McGregor vs. Chandler bout. The Pereira vs. Prochazka fight brings together two of the most dynamic and skilled fighters in the light heavyweight division, while the Ortega vs. Lopes match offers a clash of two of the most dangerous featherweights in the sport.

Despite the disappointment of McGregor’s withdrawal, the restructured event aims to maintain the high standards and excitement that fans expect from a UFC main card. Both Pereira and Prochazka are known for their knockout power and aggressive styles, which should provide an electrifying main event. Similarly, the Ortega vs. Lopes fight promises a showcase of elite grappling and striking, ensuring that the co-main event is equally compelling.

As UFC 303 approaches, fans can look forward to an evening of top-tier mixed martial arts action, highlighted by the new main event and the featherweight showdown. While McGregor’s absence is undoubtedly a setback, the talent and excitement brought by the remaining fighters ensure that the event will still be a memorable and thrilling experience.

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