The UFC's return to Auckland has been dealt another blow just four weeks out from the event, with a returning fan favourite withdrawing from the card.
Rachael Ostovich is out of her scheduled flyweight bout against Shana Dobson on the February 23 fight night due to undisclosed personal reasons.
The 28-year-old Hawaiian was set to make her return to the octagon after a more than a year, but the UFC confirmed to the Herald that would not be the case.
It's the second time in the past 12 months that Ostovich has been removed from a card for undisclosed reasons, with Ostovich removed from a scheduled bout against Veronica Macedo in August last year.
Ostovich has not made an official comment on the situation, and her management did not respond when asked for one by the Herald. However, she vented her frustrations on Twitter just days before being officially ruled out of the card, alluding to the fact she wouldn't be fighting.
Never said no to a fight. Never pulled out from a fight. Obviously this B.S. above me. Can’t believe this. Smh.— rachaelostovich (@rachaelostovich) January 24, 2020
Ostovich is the third fighter to be removed for the card for Fight Night 168 in Auckland, after a scheduled light heavyweight bout between Australian Tyson Pedro and Brazil's Vinicius Moreira was cancelled.
The bout would have been Pedro's long awaited return after undergoing knee surgery early last year. However, the 28-year-old re-injured his knee in training camp and required surgery again. With Pedro ruled out of the fight, the UFC ultimately decided not to replace him and removed Moreira from the card as well.
With Ostovich no longer fighting, her spot on the Auckland card will be filled by Priscila Cachoeira of Brazil. Cachoeira comes into the card on short notice looking for her first win inside the octagon after making her UFC debut in 2018.
Joining the UFC as an unbeaten prospect, Cachoeira has lost all three of her bouts in the UFC, against current flyweight champion Valentina Schevchenko, Molly McCann and Luana Carolina.
UFC Auckland card
Lightweight: Dan Hooker (NZ) v Paul Felder (five-round main event)
Strawweight: Karolina Kowalkiewicz v Yan Xiaonan
Flyweight: Kai Kara-France (NZ) v Tyson Nam
Welterweight: Jake Matthews (Aus) v Emil Meek
Light heavyweight: Jimmy Crute (Aus) v Michal Oleksiejczuk
Lightweight: Brad Riddell (NZ) v Magomed Mustafaev
Heavyweight: Ben Sosoli (NZ) v Marcos Rogério de Lima
Welterweight: Callan Potter (Aus) v Kenan Song
Lightweight: Jamie Mullarkey (Aus) v Jalin Turner
Featherweight: Kevin Aguilar v Zubaira Tukhugov
Strawweight: Loma Lookboonmee v Hannah Goldy
Welterweight: Maki Pitolo v Takashi Sato
Flyweight: Priscila Cachoeira v Shana Dobson