T.J. Dillashaw injured, UFC targets Michelle Waterson vs. Marina Rodriguez to headline UFC Vegas 26

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has suffered an injury that’s forced him to withdraw from UFC Vegas 26, delaying a showdown with top contender Cory Sandhagen.

Reporter C. Contreras Legaspi first reported on Twitter that Dillashaw suffered injury. Multiple people with knowledge of the injury confirmed MMA Fighting that Dillashaw suffered a cut and was forced to withdraw from the event. Dillashaw confirmed his injury on Twitter.

The promotion is now expected to rebook Dillashaw’s fight with Sandhagen, and a strawweight bout between Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez is now targeted to serve as the May 8 event’s headliner at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

Rodriguez stepped in for Waterson when she was removed from UFC 257 for undisclosed reasons, and she defeated surging prospect Amanda Ribas in the January pay-per-view event. Now, the promotion expects to book them in a bout with likely title implications for the winner.

Dillashaw’s return delays a comeback more than two years after an anti-doping suspension cost him the bantamweight title and halted his career. In the wake of a TKO loss to then-flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, he tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) and admitted to cheating for the bout that could have made him a two-division champ.

Sandhagen wowed in his most recent performance, knocking out former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar with a flying knee to pick up his second straight win since a submission loss to current champ Aljamain Sterling delayed his trip to the top of the division.

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