Evan Dunham Says Olivier Aubin-Mercier is in For Mairbek Taisumov as UFC 223 Dance Partner

By Jordan Breen Mar 10, 2018

In just a heartbeat, Evan Dunham has a new opponent for UFC 223.

On Friday, it was reported that Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Mairbek Taisumov was forced out of his slated 155-pound contest with Evan Dunham due to his ongoing struggles to secure an American visa. By evening’s end, Dunham was blessed with a new dance partner, as the Oregon native posted on Twitter that Olivier Aubin-Mercier would take the Chechen’s spot.

UFC 223 is scheduled for April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., headlined by a UFC championship doubleheader, with a lightweight title bout between Tony Ferguson and undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov in the headlining slot, as well as a co-feature that sees Rose Namajunas run it back against previously-undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk, whom she captured the UFC women’s 115-pound crown from at UFC 217 last November.

“Thanks to @oliaubin for taking this fight. I will see you in the middle,” Dunham wrote.

Taisumov, 29, has gone 6-1 under UFC employee but has consistently struggled to secure an American visa, having never fought in the United States during his Octagon tenure. In the last six-plus years, “Beckan” has only competed once on American soil, punching out Josh Bacallao at M-1 Challenge 26 in July 2011 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

The 36-year-old Dunham is coming off a raucous and entertaining majority draw over Beneil Dariush at UFC 216 this past October that saw him come from the floor in the first round to salvage the draw over the final 10 minutes.

Aubin-Mercier was more esoteric in his confirmation of the contest.

The 29-year-old has won three in a row in the Octagon, choking out both Thibault Gouti and Drew Dober before running into Tony Martin at UFC Fight Night 116 this past September in Pittsburgh. Aubin-Mercier prevailed via split decision.


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