UFC 219, a card that has struggled to find its identity, has lost a promising light heavyweight.
Kickboxing star Gokhan Saki, who recently (and successfully) made his UFC debut, is out of his next fight. Per an initial report by Damon Martin, an injury to Saki means he’s off next month’s UFC 219 card. Stepping in against Khalil Rountree will be Michal Oleksiejczuk. The UFC’s official fight card has been updated to reflect the change.
Fellow UFC fighter Eric Spicely later revealed that Saki had hurt his knee.
Hurt his knee.
— Zebrinha MMA (@EricSpicely) November 29, 2017
After taking a couple of years off from combat sports in general, Saki returned to take part in his first MMA fight since 2000 (and second of his career) at September’s UFC Fight Night 117. There, he finished Luis Henrique da Silva just prior to the end of a thrilling first round. His sophomore effort against Rountree was heavily anticipated. That, however, will have to wait.
Instead, Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk gets the call. Oleksiejczuk (12-2), a former TFL champion, will be making his UFC debut on the night. Undefeated since 2014, he has won nine straight, with eight finishes over that span.
Rountree (6–2) appeared on The Ultimate Fighter 23, going to the final where he lost to Andrew Sanchez. After losing his next fight, he bounced back, and has won two straight. With consecutive KOs of Daniel Jolly and Paul Craig, Rountree is now 2-2 in the UFC.
UFC 219 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV on December 30. Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino defends her women’s featherweight title against Holly Holm in the main event.
UPDATE (4:35PM EST): Saki has released a statement on Facebook confirming the injury.