UFC Columbus Loses Aleksei Oleinik vs. Ilir Latifi At Last Minute

Ilir Latifi and Aleksei Oleinik, UFC Columbus
Ilir Latifi and Aleksei Oleinik, UFC Columbus face-off Credit: Youtube/UFC

Shortly before Saturday’s UFC Columbus card was set to kick off, the Fight Night event lost a promising heavyweight match-up.

As much as he had defied father time through a career spanning over 75 professional fights, Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1) found himself in must-win territory at the event.

Opposite Ilir Latifi (15-8), “The Boa Constrictor” was looking to snap a three-fight skid, while Sweden’s “Sledgehammer” himself was coming in off a lone win over Tanner Boser.

The fight just wasn’t to be, however. In a late withdrawal, Latifi dropped off the card, the result of a “non-COVID” related illness.

UFC officials confirmed the news as the UFC Columbus broadcast got underway. As a result, the welterweight bout between Neil Magny and Max Griffin, which had been penciled in as the night’s featured preliminary card fight, was promoted to the main card.

Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa, a women’s bantamweight bout with the potential to propel Rosa into the title picture, moved to the featured prelim spot in turn.

UFC Columbus moves forward with 12 fights, including the heavyweight main event between Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus. Left on the docket are:

  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Chris Daukaus
  • Joanne Wood vs. Alexa Grasso
  • Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena
  • Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Viacheslav Borshchev
  • Neil Magny vs. Max Griffin
  • Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa
  • Chris Gutiérrez vs. Danaa Batgerel
  • Aliaskhab Khizriev vs. Denis Tiuliulin
  • Jennifer Maia vs. Manon Fiorot
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. David Dvořák
  • Luis Saldaña vs. Bruno Souza