UFC 284 Lineup Taking Some Big Hits, Multiple Fights Dropped

When the UFC announced their return to Australia in February to host UFC 284 from Perth, they did so with plans of filling the top of the lineup with popular fighters who are from the region.

While the promotion appeared to have succeeded with their goal when fights started to get announced for the event, some of the biggest matchups on the card have fallen apart in recent days, leaving a pretty sizeable hole in the middle of the lineup.

Thankfully, the changes have not occurred at the top of the card at least, where Islam Makhachev will be defending his recently won UFC Lightweight championship against current UFC Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski.

Volkanovski will be attempting to become the fifth double champ in UFC history when he goes up a weight class to challenge Makhachev. The two fighters are a combined 48-2 in their professional careers with one loss each.

In the co-main event of the evening, Yair Rodriguez will face off against Josh Emmett in a battle for the interim UFC Featherweight title since the current champion is pre-occupied with Makhachev at the moment and didn’t want to hold up the division.

This is another fight that should be highly entertaining and will determine which fighter will likely face Volkanovski to unify the featherweight titles later in the year.

Unfortunately, below those two title fights is where the recent changes to the lineup have been announced.

First, it was reported that Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker would no longer be taking place at the event. Costa had warned fans previously that the fight was not actually finalized, and since he and the UFC still seem to be pretty far apart on his desired pay, it was announced that Costa would not be appearing on the card.

That leaves Whittaker, who is ranked number two in the UFC Middleweight division and one of the most popular fighters from the region, without an opponent for UFC 284 and no clear replacement to step in for Costa.

Jared Cannonier, who recently defeated Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 66 earlier this month, has volunteered to step in and take the fight on short notice. However, it remains to be seen if the promotion will take him up on his offer and book this new fight for the event.

The second big change to the lineup occurred yesterday when Kai Kara-France announced via social media that he had suffered an injury during his preparations to fight Alex Perez and that he would no longer be able to appear on the UFC 284 card.

Like Whittaker, Kara-France is another very popular fighter from the region who is a contender within his respective division, so this loss definitely hurts for the local fans who planned to attend the event to support their local favorites.

There have been no announcements about a potential new opponent for Alex Perez as of now, however, Muhammad Mokaev called for the fight on social media shortly after Kara-France made his announcement.

Since Mokaev is one of the fastest rising prospects in the division, a matchup against Perez would definitely make a lot of sense. Amir Albazi is another prospect in the division who could potentially step in to fill Kara-France’s spot.

Jamie Mullarkey is another fighter from the region who is currently hoping to receive a new opponent as well after it was announced that Nasrat Haqparast would be forced to withdraw from their scheduled fight at the event.

Current UFC 284 main card after the recent cancellations

While fight cancellation announcements are always disappointing, at least these have occurred early enough in the process to give the UFC plenty of time to consider their options for UFC 284.

If you were one of the UFC matchmakers, who would you consider as new opponents for the fighters who have been left looking for new matchups at the event? Do you think all three will receive new opponents or will somebody be left out in the end? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

While the UFC is currently on hiatus for the Holiday season, be sure to check out our early previews and the current lineups for the first two events of the new year: UFC Vegas 67 and UFC 283.

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