Li Jingliang is out of his fight against Michael Chiesa.
On the Chinese social media platform Douyin (H/T Meni Mayer of MMA Ideas), the UFC welterweight announced he was forced to withdraw against Chiesa at UFC 287 due to a spine injury that could require surgery.
In his past six appearances, Jingliang has alternated between wins and losses. After returning to the win column recently with a ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded second-round TKO of Muslim Salikhov at UFC Long Island in July, the ‘Leech’ lost a controversial split decision to Daniel Rodriguez at UFC 279 this past September.
Chiesa has not fought since suffering a unanimous decision loss to Sean Brady at UFC Vegas 43 over a year ago. That was the second consecutive loss for the ‘Maverick,’ who also fell short against Vicente Luque.
Per Mike Heck of MMA Fighting, the UFC is searching for a short-notice replacement for Chiesa. Among the names who have offered to fill in against the Ultimate Fighter 15 winner was Kevin Lee, the recently re-signed UFC staple who already holds a first-round submission win over Chiesa.
The ‘Motown Phenom’ claims his former foe turned down the potential rematch. However, a representative for Chiesa says that was categorically false.
“Or, factually, this is complete bulls—t and NOT A SINGLE NAME has been offered as a replacement option yet,” tweeted Daniel Rubenstein. “Still to be determined if Chiesa stays on the UFC 287 card. My gut tells me him sharing the same manager as Jingliang, his manager offered to put him in and he was shot down.”
If no opponent is found for Chiesa, then UFC 287 moves forward with 13 fights. The upcoming pay-per-view event goes down on Sat., April 8, at the Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, Fla.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)