Carlos Ulberg OUT, Anthony Smith vs. Roman Dolidze set for UFC 303

roman dolidze

UFC 303 has seen a significant last-minute change to its fight card in a surprising turn of events. Roman Dolidze has stepped in on just eight days’ notice to face Anthony Smith, replacing Carlos Ulberg, who was forced to withdraw due to undisclosed reasons. The UFC confirmed this unexpected development on June 21, 2024, and has added a new layer of excitement to the upcoming PPV event scheduled for June 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Anthony Smith, a seasoned veteran and former light heavyweight title challenger, was originally set to fight Carlos Ulberg. However, Ulberg’s sudden withdrawal left the UFC in a bind, needing to find a replacement on short notice. Roman Dolidze, known for his resilience and willingness to take on challenges, answered the call, stepping up a weight class to ensure that Smith remains on the card.

Dolidze’s decision to take the fight on such short notice is a testament to his fighting spirit and dedication to the sport. The 35-year-old Georgian fighter has had a mixed run recently, suffering a decision loss to Marvin Vettori at UFC 286 and another decision loss to Nassourdine Imavov in the main event of UFC Vegas 85. Despite these setbacks, Dolidze’s impressive 2022 campaign, where he went 3-0 with three stoppage victories, showcases his potential and determination to bounce back.

For Anthony Smith, this fight represents an opportunity to build on his recent success. Smith is coming off a first-round submission win against Vitor Petrino at UFC 301 in May, a victory that reignited his momentum in the light heavyweight division. Known for his toughness and finishing ability, Smith has faced some of the best fighters in the division, including Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, and Alexander Rakic. His experience and skill set make him a formidable opponent for anyone stepping into the octagon.

The matchup between Smith and Dolidze is intriguing for several reasons. Firstly, Dolidze is moving up a weight class, which could present both challenges and opportunities. While he may face a size disadvantage, his speed and agility could pose problems for Smith. Additionally, Dolidze’s grappling skills and knockout power make him a dangerous opponent, even on short notice.

Smith, on the other hand, will need to adapt quickly to the change in opponent. Preparing for Ulberg, a different stylistic matchup, Smith must now adjust his game plan to counter Dolidze’s strengths. However, Smith’s versatility and experience in dealing with various fighting styles should serve him well in this unexpected scenario.

The UFC 303 card has seen its fair share of changes and challenges, but the addition of Smith vs. Dolidze adds an element of unpredictability that fans often crave. The willingness of fighters like Dolidze to step in on short notice highlights the unpredictable nature of the sport and the dedication of its athletes.

As the event approaches, the focus will be on how both fighters handle the short preparation time and the adjustments required. For Dolidze, this fight is an opportunity to make a statement and potentially catapult himself into the light heavyweight rankings. For Smith, it’s a chance to solidify his position and continue his climb back towards title contention.

The UFC 303 card, headlined by other exciting matchups, promises to deliver a night of high-octane action. The main event features a light heavyweight title rematch between Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka, while the co-main event sees Brian Ortega taking on Diego Lopes. With the addition of Smith vs. Dolidze, the card is shaping up to be a memorable one for fight fans.

UFC 303 Fight Card

Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Alex Pereira vs. Jiri Prochazka
  • Brian Ortega vs. Diego Lopes
  • Anthony Smith vs. Roman Dolidze
  • Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Macy Chiasson
  • Ian Machado Garry vs. Michael Page

Preliminary Card (ESPN, ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Joe Pyfer vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
  • Charles Jourdain vs. Jean Silva
  • Cub Swanson vs. Andre Fili
  • Payton Talbott vs. Yanis Ghemmouri

Early Preliminaries (ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET)

  • Michelle Waterson-Gomez vs. Gillian Robertson
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Martin Buday\
  • Rei Tsuruya vs. Carlos Hernandez
  • Ricky Simon vs. Vinicius Oliveira
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