It wouldn’t be a UFC card without a fight cancellation. And it looks like it didn’t take long for UFC 249 to pick up it’s first one. Just two after the full fight card was announced, Combate reports that Rose Namajunas has withdrawn from her planned rematch against Jessica Andrade, ESPN has since confirmed the news. No reason was given for her removal from the fight, and the cancellation hasn’t been made official, but the promotion is apparently trying to secure a short-notice replacement for Andrade.
The bout was to have been Namajunas’ first since losing her title to the Brazilian, at UFC 237—back in May of last year. Shortly after that fight, Andrade lost the belt herself, in a shocking flash-TKO at the hands of current champion Weili Zhang. Andrade vs. Namajunas 2 had been planned for the original UFC 249 fight card, when the card was still set to take place in Brooklyn, NY—with the bout originally announced back in January. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was unclear what (if any) of the UFC’s previously planned fights would be able to go ahead as scheduled.
The NY Times reports that the UFC now plans to put on their April 18th PPV offering at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California. The use of tribal land for the event would potentially insulate the UFC from the CSAC’s refusal to sanction any MMA bouts in the state during the pandemic.
Andrade vs. Namajunas was expected to serve as the card’s co-main event, with an interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje in the headlining slot. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as the UFC’s plans for UFC 249 will likely evolve even more in the coming days.