A UFC official passed on the news to MMAjunkie, and people close to both fighters confirmed it. The parties asked to remain anonymous because the news hadn’t been announced.
In its place, the promotion has booked a fight between middleweights Alessio Di Chirico (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Eric Spicely (9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). UFC officials today announced the contest, which was previously reported by FloCombat.com.
UFC on FOX 23 takes place Jan. 28 at Pepsi Center in Denver. The main card airs on FOX after early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order hasn’t been finalized.
Di Chirico hopes to notch back-to-back wins after a split decision over Garreth McLellan at UFC on FOX 21, which followed a decision loss to Bojan Velickovic in his debut at UFC Fight Night 86.
Spicely also wants to up his stock after an impressive upset over Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 95. A first-round submission followed a first-round tapout loss to Sam Alvey in his debut at UFC Fight Night 91.
Lombard (34-6-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC) was scheduled to return after suffering a brutal knockout loss to three-time title challenger Dan Henderson at UFC 199. The setback followed a knockout loss to Neil Magny and overturned win due to a positive drug test.
Tavares (14-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) was coming off a split-call win over Caio Magalhaes at UFC 203, which put him back on track after a knockout loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 65. The Hawaii native is 2-3 in his past five outings.
With the changes to the card, UFC on FOX 23 now includes: