The #13 ranked heavyweight, Chris Daukaus was looking to re-find his previous form when he was scheduled to drop down to light heavyweight at UFC 289. The American had enjoyed a strong start to life in the UFC, notching four knockout wins in his first four bouts, however, has suffered three knockout losses on the bounce in recent times. UFC 289 would have marked the first time that the 33 year old will make 205lbs, however, it wasn’t to be. Daukaus had to withdraw from the fight with an injury and now his scheduled opponent, Khalil Rountree is in search of a new opponent.
The UFC's long-awaited return to Canada has taken another hit. I'm told Chris Daukaus is out of #UFC289 due to injury. Unclear if Khalil Rountree will remain on the card or not. pic.twitter.com/zVhEFbPkiI
— Nolan King (@mma_kings) June 2, 2023
UFC 289 will take place in Vancouver, Canada and is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title bout between Amanda Nunes and Irene Aldana.
The War Horse got into MMA to lose weight, made his amateur debut back in 2011 and now, 12 years later and 27 fights later has established himself as one of the most dangerous men at the weight.
Routree is enjoying a three-fight winning run, including two finishes along the way, both of which have been emphatic. We know that he can hang with the best on the feet as well. He’s the man who essentially sent Gokhan Saki back to kickboxing after brutally knocking him out in just 1:36. We haven’t seen him in action since October after a split decision win over Dustin Jacoby.
Just this past week we saw two late-notice fighters compete, one winning and one losing. Jesse Butler stepped in to face Jim Miller during fight week, albeit in a losing effort and Muhammad Naimov managed to secure a post-fight bonus after knocking out Jamie Mullarkey. This proves that we know that the UFC can find an opponent at late notice.
Possible Opponents for Rountree at UFC 289
If the UFC look to replace Daukaus with someone already on their books, there are plenty of possibilities for Rountree. Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Meneifeld are set to rematch at UFC 290, however, either man could set in at UFC 289 to save a card that is already riddled with cancellations.
If they look outside of the organisation, LFA interim champion, Rodolfo Bellato is already on the radar of the UFC. Despite losing his contender series opportunity, Bellato has won two straight since then and is the LFA 205lbs interim light heavyweight champion. He went 25 minutes just two weeks ago so has the cardio base to jump straight in there.
Let’s hope that Rountree remains on the card.