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OAM replaces Taisumov against Dunham at UFC 223

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A planned UFC bout between Mairbek Taisumov and Evan Dunham has fallen apart as the Russian-born fighter’s visa issues continue to stall out his career.

When it comes to fighting, all Mairbek Taisumov’s problems seem to be going on outside the cage. ‘Beckan’ entered the UFC back in 2014 with a 21-4 record. Since then, he’s gone 6-1 in a shark tank of a lightweight division, with his last five fights all wins coming by knockout. That should be enough to put anyone on a fast track to title contention. Only, Taisumov has been stuck in the slow lane.

After competing five times in 2014-15 for the UFC, Taisumov has only fought once in each of the last two years, hampered almost entirely by ongoing visa issues. Potential fights with Chris Wade and Nik Lentz have fallen victim to his inability to make the trip stateside – a third bout with Joaquim Silva in Sweden was scrapped due to a knee injury.

And now a planned bout against Evan Dunham at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, NY has fallen apart as well.

While reports have circulated for weeks that the bout may be in danger, MMA Fighting made Taisumov’s withdrawal official. Apparently, the fighter and his camp are confident the issues with his visa will be resolved and that he will compete again in the US soon – as he has not actually been denied entry – but ‘soon’ won’t be soon enough for the April 7th PPV.

With Taisumov now off the card, it looks like Olivier Aubin-Mercier has stepped in on short notice as his replacement. The TUF Nations winner was scheduled to face Gilbert Burns at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando, FL, however issues with Burns’ weight cut saw the bout cancelled during fight week. Dunham announced his new fight on Twitter:

UFC 223 is expected to be headlined by a pair of title bouts. Tony Ferguson is booked to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight belt – following the reportedly upcoming stripping of Conor McGregor. And Rose Namajunas will make her first title defense – a rematch against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

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