Khalil Rountree will have to make several adjustments after former opponent Azamat Murzakanov backed out of their fight. Aside from a new opponent in Anthony Smith, his fight has been moved to a week later at UFC Fight Night 233 on December 9. This automatically removes Rountree from the lineup at UFC on ESPN 52.

The fight between Rountree and Murzakanov was originally scheduled for December 2 at Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The duo was supposed to join the event featuring the bouts between Beneil Dariush and Arman Tsarukyan and Bobby Green and Jalin Turner. However, UFC CEO Dana White announced that Murzakanov caught pneumonia and would no longer be able to face Rountree.

Fortunately, Smith stepped in to replace “The Professional.” With this, Rountree will face Smith in a new bout that will now be under UFC Fight Night 233, which will be held at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

The fight will be more interesting for the No. 11-ranked light heavyweight Rountree. With the No. 12-ranked Murzakanov out of the battle, he’ll be able to face No. 8-ranked light heavyweight fighter Smith, allowing him to boost his record in case he wins this bout. 

Rountree boasts an impressive winning streak after defeating Chris Daukaus at UFC on ESPN 51 in August. However, the fight against “Lionheart” won’t be easy. Smith will enter with only one win this year after defeating Ryan Spann in August and losing to Johnny Walker in May. With this, the fighter will certainly have a strong desire to win the bout despite being a replacement for Murzakanov.

With the latest change, here’s the updated UFC Fight Night 233 lineup:

  • Song Yadong vs. Chris Guiterrez
  • Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree
  • Andre Muniz vs. Junyong Park
  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Jamie Mullarkey
  • Carlos Hernandez vs. Tatsuro Taira
  • Su Mudaerji vs. Allan Nascimento
  • Sung Hyun Park vs. Shannon Ross
  • Kevin Jousset vs. Song Kenan
  • Stephanie Egger vs. Luana Santos
  • Talita Alencar vs. Rayanne dos Santos

Meanwhile, here’s the updated UFC on ESPN 52 lineup on December 2:

  • Beneil Dariush vs. Arman Tsarukyan
  • Bobby Green vs. Jalin Turner
  • Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Rob Font
  • Sean Brady vs. Kelvin Gastelum
  • Punahele Soriano vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
  • Clay Guida vs. Joaquim Silva
  • Julia Avila vs. Miesha Tate
  • Cody Brundage vs. Zach Reese
  • Drakkar Klose vs. Joe Solecki
  • Melquizael Costa vs. Steve Garcia
  • Rodolfo Bellato vs. Ihor Potieria
  • Jared Gooden vs. Wellington Turman
  • Veronica Hardy vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth
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