Max Holloway to Fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 After Tony Ferguson Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2018

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 19:   Tony Ferguson interacts with fans and media during the UFC press conference at TD Garden on January 19, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Max Holloway will replace Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 after the lightweight champion suffered a knee injury in a "freak accident," per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.

UFC President Dana White announced the injury on Instagram:

Holloway will take on Khabib Nurmagomedov on six days' notice as the headline event for the April 7 pay-per-view.

Ferguson's "ligament tore completely off the bone" late last week, per Okamoto.

Ferguson won the interim lightweight championship last October with a win over Kevin Lee via submission. He replaced Conor McGregor, who has not competed in UFC since taking on Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match last summer.

The matchup against Nurmagomedov was set to create a new undisputed champion, and as White announced, that title is still on the line even with Holloway stepping in.

Holloway, the current featherweight champion, is coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Jose Aldo to become the undisputed winner at his weight class. He hasn't lost since 2013 in a battle against McGregor, although moving up from 145 to 155 could be a challenge, especially with short notice.

Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov enters the upcoming bout with an undefeated 25-0 record and could finally get an opportunity to bring home a belt.

Luke Thomas of SiriusXM provided a quick breakdown of the fight:

He and Ferguson have been scheduled to fight several times in the past, with the Russian most recently backing out because of problems managing weight last March for UFC 209. Chamatkar Sandhu of USA Today noted the problems with getting these two together:

Hopefully, Holloway represents a quality replacement worthy of the PPV Saturday.

Related

    Video: Watch McGregor Arrest from March Cell Phone Incident

    MMA logo
    MMA

    Video: Watch McGregor Arrest from March Cell Phone Incident

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Ranking the Top Fight of the Year Contenders So Far

    MMA logo
    MMA

    Ranking the Top Fight of the Year Contenders So Far

    Nathan McCarter
    via Bleacher Report

    Angela Magana in Coma Following Emergency Surgery

    MMA logo
    MMA

    Angela Magana in Coma Following Emergency Surgery

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Dustin Poirier Calls Out Khabib: 'Let's F--king Fight'

    MMA logo
    MMA

    Dustin Poirier Calls Out Khabib: 'Let's F--king Fight'

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report