Cody Garbrandt’s back injury has officially forced him out of his UFC 213 bantamweight title defense against former teammate T.J. Dillashaw.
A women’s bantamweight title rematch between Valentina Shevchenko and champion Amanda Nunes will move into the headlining spot for the July 8 event at T-Mobile Arena.
UFC president Dana White announced the news Tuesday night on ESPN’s “Sportscenter.” An interim middleweight title bout has also been added to the card as Yoel Romero will take on Robert Whittaker.
The loss of the main event was a big blow to what traditionally has been one of the organization’s biggest events of the year. Garbrandt and Dillashaw, friends turned arch-rivals, have been promoting the bout through constant confrontations as opposing coaches on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” reality show.
Garbrandt has been receiving treatments in Germany in hopes of remaining on the card, but will be unable to make the first defense of the belt he won in December.
Dillashaw, the former bantamweight champ, is now likely to drop to flyweight to challenge Demetrious Johnson for the title in August.
It marks the second consecutive July that Nunes has been bumped up to the main event on a major card in Las Vegas.
She won the belt with a knockout of Miesha Tate in the headlining bout of UFC 200 in 2016. Nunes also knocked out Ronda Rousey in her first title defense at T-Mobile Arena in December.
Romero and Whittaker will square off for the interim belt with middleweight champion Michael Bisping out until at least the fall with a knee injury.
UFC officials had hoped Bisping could defend the belt against returning superstar Georges St. Pierre on the card, but St. Pierre isn’t ready and Bisping is now out of commission. White says St. Pierre will now fight for the welterweight belt when he is ready and Bisping will take on either Romero or Whittaker.
The card also includes a welterweight bout between Donald Cerrone and former champion Robbie Lawler, as well as a heavyweight rematch pitting Alistair Overeem against former champ Fabricio Werdum.
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