Diego Lopes vs. Dan Ige Historic UFC 303 Fight Booked After Brian Ortega Withdraws | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 10: Dan Ige warms up prior to his fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

In a historic moment for the UFC, Dan Ige is stepping in to fight Diego Lopes in the UFC 303 co-main event after Brian Ortega withdrew just hours before the fight due to illness.

The promotion announced the move after UFC insider Ariel Helwani reported that a fight between Lopes and Ige was in the works rather than the scheduled event of Lopes vs. Ortega.

“This is the s–t legends are made of,” UFC president Dana White said of the newly-booked fight.

Kevin Iole @KevinI

Dana on changes <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC303?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#UFC303</a> <a href=”https://t.co/6V4tWlkbfa”>pic.twitter.com/6V4tWlkbfa</a>

Helwani also noted that Ige did not weigh in yesterday, so the last-minute switch was highly unprecedented.

According to Helwani, Ige’s team got word of the attempted switch around 7:30 p.m. ET, about four hours ahead of when he would need to fight.

Shortly after his original report, Helwani said that Ige was in the arena and associated parties said “they feel confident” the fight would happen.

With the fight being a monumental moment in UFC history, several fighters were quick to react, including Sean O’Malley:

Sean O’Malley @SugaSeanMMA

Incredible. Shout out Suga state athletic commission for allowing this. Ige and Lopes are fuckin gangsters

The lightweight fight between Lopes and Ortega was a co-main card event, making the unprecedented turnaround time even more baffling. As Helwani noted, last-minute replacements have occurred in mid-card bouts, but are rare among fights of such magnitude.

Ortega came into the weekend looking to win a second consecutive fight after beating Yair Rodríguez at UFC Fight Night in February. Lopes has won three consecutive fights, his latest coming against Sodiq Yusuff at UFC 300 in April.

Ige is coming off a win against Andre Fili at UFC Fight Night in February.

First appeared on bleacherreport.com

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