The highly-touted middleweight prospect will face Valentine
Woodburn on Saturday after Tresean
Gore, Nickal’s original opponent, announced on his Instagram
stories that a torn ligament in his wrist forced him out of the
middleweight bout. Eurosport
was first to report the new booking.
“Unfortunately, I am out of my fight for this weekend and I’m
extremely sad about it, but the truth is I’m not healthy and I may
have to get surgery that will have me out six months to a year,”
Gore wrote. “Torn scafoid ligament in one of my wrists. I feel
extremely bummed but I will still be champion and I will still
prove I’m better than this dude and I’m an elite fighter, but I
have to get healthy before anything.
“As of now, I’m avoiding the surgery but I have rounds of stem cell
treatment I have to do until I heal up.”
Woodburn was expected to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series
in August before getting his call up to the big show. The
29-year-old Fusion X-Cel representative is 7-0 since making his
professional debut in 2020, with all of his appearances coming
under the Florida-based Combat Night Pro banner.
A three-time NCAA national champion wrestler at Penn State
University, Nickal generated a considerable amount of hype with
back-to-back first-round submission victories on the Contender
Series in 2022. That carried over into the Las Vegas-based
promotion, as the 27-year-old dispatched Jamie
Pickett with an arm-triangle 2:54 into the opening stanza at
UFC 285 this past March.
UFC 290 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is
headlined by a featherweight title tilt between Alexander
Volkanovski and Yair
Rodriguez. Nickal vs. Woodburn is slated to open to the main
card, which airs on pay-per-view via ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m.
ET/7 p.m. PT.
Valentine Woodburn Replaces Injured Tresean Gore, Faces Bo Nickal at UFC 290