UFC 249 has hit another obstacle on its path to becoming a reality, as former strawweight Rose Namajunas has pulled out of her fight against Jessica Andrade.
The fight, which had been scheduled as the co-main event of the evening, was to be a rematch between the athletes — Andrade defeated Namajunas at UFC 237 in May 2019 to claim the strawweight championship title, which she lost to current champ Zhang Weili a few months later.
Namajunas’ team didn’t specify why the fighter had pulled out, and the promotion is now trying to find a replacement. Andrade has made it clear that she is ready to fight whoever will face her, with her manager telling MMA Fighting that she’d even be willing to take an opponent in the flyweight, featherweight, or bantamweight divisions. Andrade and her team had come to the US early in anticipation of coronavirus-related travel restrictions that could have impeded her ability to fight on the card.
UFC 249 has faced numerous hurdles as the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted restrictions on gatherings, travel, and combat sports as a whole, but still plans to go ahead on April 18 in California.