What's the story?
Both Voklan Oezdemir and Alexander Gustafsson pulled out of their protracted clash at UFC 227 this past week, citing injuries. The event is headlined by a Men's Bantamweight Title rematch between Cody Garbdandt and Champion TJ Dillashaw and will take place on August 4th in the Staples Center in California.
Both Oezdemir and Gustafsson have challenged for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, the latter twice, and came up short on all occasions.
It was believed that the winner of their fight would be next in line to earn a crack at Daniel Cormier's Light Heavyweight crown.
In case you didn't know...
Volkan Oezemir is coming off a defeat to LHW king Daniel Cormier in January of this year, but saw off Ovince Saint Preux, Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa in a row before that fight.
Alexander Gustafsson is coming off dominant performances against Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira but has been actively lobbying for a high profile or Title fight on social media.
The heart of the matter
Oezdemir posted this photo of his broken nose on Instagram.
However, the exact details of Gustafsson's injury haven't yet been revealed. His team released the following statement to MMA Fighting.
Alex Gustafsson is out of UFC 227 with a minor injury. The injury occurred last week. Since that time, we have been working closely with the UFC doctors, our doctors in Sweden, and the experts at the UFC Performance Institute. We have been advised that Alex has a minor injury and he will not be permitted to compete at UFC 227. Had Alex been fit to fight, we were prepared to face Roundtree or anyone else the UFC had asked us; including DC Cormier at heavyweight.
Alex will be fighting again very soon. He will give his side of the story shortly. We don’t care who the opponent is. But whomever we face it should be for the meaningful result of the LHW UFC Title.
Doctors pulled Alex from the card last Friday. Days before Anthony was to compete. Before that we were trying to stay on the card. Assuming we could get cleared, we were prepared to face anyone. We assumed it would be Rountree as he was ready fight, and we were told Jan would fight at another time. We also offered to fight DC at heavyweight if he was healthy. So Alex was prepared to face anyone, ranked or unranked. But the doctor’s said he was unfit to compete.
It was determined last Friday he would not be on the card. Days before the Smith contest.
Both fighters are in and around title contention in a division that hasn't really been spoilt for choice like the Lightweight or Welterweight divisions in the UFC.
It should make sense for the duo to fight each other some time in the future so that a clear number one contender is crowned.