By: Andrew Richardson

First and foremost: this is no April Fool’s joke.

Less than a week after Nassourdine Imavov was forced to withdraw due to visa issues, now his would-be opponent Kelvin Gastelum has pulled out due to injury, leaving last-second replacement foe Driscuss Du Plessis without a dance partner. UFC made the announcement on its website earlier today.

Du Plessis is off the card; there won’t be a replacement for “Stillknocks.”

This withdrawal is really a continuation of a rough streak for Gastelum. The former interim title challenger has lost two bouts in a row, as well as four of his last five. Admittedly, all those defeats come against the very best Middleweights in the world, but Gastelum really needed a rebound win.

That’s not to say Du Plessis or Imavov were easy opponents. Both knockout artists are riding solid win streaks, and they were looking to jump up the ladder off Gastelum’s name.

It remains to be seen how long Gastelum is on the bench, or if UFC looks to rebook either of these matchups on his return.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Jacksonville, Fla., on Sat., April 9, 2022, with a world championship doubleheader that will see Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, defend against No. 4-ranked division contender, “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. In UFC 273’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, Bantamweight kingpin, Aljamain Sterling, runs it back with interim titleholder and former champion, Petr Yan.