Gilbert Melendez vs Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 170 pairing scrapped

Dana White confirmed that Gilbert Melendez vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is off.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.


Within the span of a week, a lightweight match between Gilbert Melendez and Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone from seemingly official to nixed after UFC president Dana White told FOX Sports on Friday that the proposed UFC 170 lightweight encounter has been scrapped.

“Not happening,” White told FOX Sports when asked if the matchup was on.

White said the UFC was instead looking for a different opponent for Nurmagomedov.

Tentative plans for the match were first revealed on Saturday night after UFC 168, when the promotion displayed a poster for its upcoming UFC 170 event. Its main intention was the announcement of UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey against Sara McMann as the new main event, but the poster’s artwork also included images of Melendez and Nurmagomedov, along with text indicating they would match up on the Feb. 22 date.

That night, UFC officials would go on to confirm the matchup was set, but on Sunday afternoon, White overruled them, saying the match was not done.

Both fighters are in the UFC’s top 10. Melendez (22-3), who defeated Diego Sanchez in his last match, is currently ranked No. 2, while Nurmagomedov, who has stormed on to the scene with five straight wins to start his UFC tenure, is No. 7. The 25-year-old Russian has yet to lose in his entire career, boasting a perfect 21-0 record.

UFC 170 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Rashad Evans and Daniel Cormier will back up Rousey and McMann in the night’s main event.

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