ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that Dricus du Plessis, who was already scheduled to face Anthony Hernandez on the April 9th card, will get a big opportunity against Gastelum in yet another opponent switch for the South African. Du Plessis was initially going to fight Chris Curtis, only to be switched to Hernandez after Hernandez’s opponent Albert Duraev withdrew due to injury.
The #10 ranked Gastelum (16-8, 1 NC) has lost five out of his last six, most recently suffering a decision defeat to top contender Jared Cannonier. His only win since 2019 is a decision over Ian Heinisch. Du Plessis (16-2) is a former KSW and two-division EFC champion whose two UFC appearances have ended in knockouts over Markus Perez and Trevin Giles. All of du Plessis’ 16 wins have come via stoppage, and he’ll be going up against a foe in Gastelum who’s never been knocked out and only submitted by Jack Hermansson and Chris Weidman.
As for ‘Fluffy’ Hernandez, all is not lost! Per MMA Fighting, he will take on newcomer and former LFA title challenger Josh Fremd, who was signed after winning on Dana White’s Lookin’ For a Fight series.
UFC 273 takes place in Jacksonville, FL with a main event between featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung aka ‘The Korean Zombie.’ Men’s bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling rematches former champ Petr Yan in the co-main.