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The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first event with new broadcast partner ESPN+ has been plagued with injuries, but one fight at least will go on with a late replacement.
On Thursday, it was reported that Ion Cutelaba had withdrawn from his light heavyweight main card bout with Glover Teixeira at UFC on ESPN+ 1 due to an undisclosed injury. Only nine days out from the event, that left the bout in some jeopardy, but the UFC announced on Friday that Karl Roberson had agreed to step in on short notice and fight Teixeira.
The 29-year old “Baby K” came to the UFC through a brutal 15-second knockout win on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series in July of 2017 and has gone 2-1 with the promotion since, with a loss to Cezar Ferreira sandwiched between victories over Darren Stewart and Jack Marshman. The short-notice booking is made more manageable by the fact that Roberson customarily fights at middleweight.
Meanwhile, 39-year old former title challenger Teixeira has alternated wins and losses in his last six bouts dating back to 2016. Most recently, he dropped a decision to Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 134, then withdrew from a scheduled bout with Jimi Manuwa in September due to a shoulder injury.
UFC on ESPN+ 1, also known as UFC Fight Night 143, is headlined by a flyweight title fight between flyweight champ Henry Cejudo and bantamweight kingpin T.J. Dillashaw on Jan. 19, 2019 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Co-headlining the inaugural ESPN+ event will be a heavyweight slugfest between Greg Hardy and Allen Crowder.