No Tony Ferguson, no Donald Cerrone, yes Darrell Horcher. After begging and pleading for anyone to step in on nine days’ notice to fight him, lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov (pictured) will now welcome UFC rookie Horcher to the big leagues at UFC on FOX 19.
Due to the short notice, the bout will be a 160-pound catchweight.
Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida hosts the April 16 event.
Nurmagomedov was initially slated to headline the show opposite Ferguson, but Ferguson withdrew at the last-minute with fluid in his lungs. While Ferguson said he would be more than willing to keep his assignment with Nurmagomedov if the shootout was postponed a month, but the UFC decided to move on for the time being.
Cerrone was close to stepping in to battle Nurmagomedov, but nothing could be finalized.
Nurmagomedov owns a perfect 22-0 professional record, but has been losing his battle with the injury bug of late. The Russian has posted just one unanimous decision victory over now-UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos since April 2014.
Horcher holds a 12-1 professional record, though all but three came in small organizations against meager opposition. The 28-year-old did go 2-1 for Bellator 2012-2013.
This will be the toughest test of his career, to say the least.
Here is the show’s finalized roster:
(UFC Fight Pass 4PM ET/1PM PT)
Omari Akhmedov vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
Drew Dober vs. Islam Makhachev
Cezar Ferreira vs. Caio Magalhaes
Randy Brown vs. Michael Graves
Bethe Correia vs. Raquel Pennington
(Fox Sports 1 6PM ET/3PM PT)
Court McGee vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
John Dodson vs. Manny Gamburyan
Hacran Dias vs. Cub Swanson
Michael Chiesa vs. Beneil Dariush
(FOX 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Darrell Horcher
Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida
Rashad Evans vs. Gloer Teixeira