Volkan Oezdemir expected to return the Octagon at UFC Stockholm this weekend opposite his friend Ilir Latifi. Unfortunately, Latifi was forced off the card at the last minute, leaving Switzerland’s Oezdemir without a dance partner.
“Due to a back injury, Ilir Latifi has been forced to withdraw from his Saturday UFC Fight Night bout against Volkan Oezdemir,” the UFC announced in a statement.
“The bout will not be replaced, and the card at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe will proceed with 12 bouts. UFC Fight Night, which is headlined by the light heavyweight bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith, airs live on ESPN+.”
Early on Friday morning, a disappointed Volkan Oezdemir issued a statement of his own. He’s understandably disappointed, but is wishing his friend Latifi a quick and painless recovery.
“On weight and more than ready to fight Saturday,” Oezdemir wrote in his statement. “Unfortunately my opponent [Ilir Latifi] got injured and the bout was canceled. I wish him a speedy recovery and I want to thank all of you for the amazing support!”
Volkan Oezdemir is currently on a three-fight losing streak — a situation he hoped to rectify at UFC Stockholm. The Swiss fighter was last defeated by Dominick Reyes via controversial decision. In his next most recent fights, he was submitted by Anthony Smith and TKO’d by Daniel Cormier in a light heavyweight title fight. He began his UFC career with a trio of impressive wins over Ovince Saint Preux, Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa.
With Oezdemir and Latifi off this card, a light heavyweight bout between Jimi Manuwa and Aleksandar Rakic has replaced it as the headlining bout.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/31/2019.