Conor McGregor fight gets new co-main event as Carlos Ulberg steps in to face Jamahal Hill

Carlos Ulberg will fight Jamahal Hill in the new co-main event of UFC 303, before Conor McGregor headlines against Michael Chandler.

Former light-heavyweight champion Hill was due to face Khalil Rountree Jr on the 29 June card, but the latter has received a two-month suspension for consuming a banned substance. Rountree preemptively announced the ‘unintentional’ consumption on social media, in a bid to prove his innocence.

The American wrote last week: “I’m gutted to deliver this news to you all but I will not be fighting at UFC 303 due to consuming a banned substance. I did not do this intentionally and I am doing everything I can to get this situation taken care of.

“I was using a personalized, tailored supplement service from a company that I trusted who understood my limitations in what I can and cannot take. They accidentally sent a blended supplement to me that contained [a] banned substance called DHEA (which is prohibited at all times under the UFC anti-doping policy). Only after I consumed it [were] its ingredients brought to my attention.

“I immediately contacted senior vice president of anti-doping compliance Jeff Novitzky and UFC vice president of anti-doping compliance Donna Marcolini upon receiving that information to inform them of this matter. I’ve provided them with all of the information to show that this was not a matter of cheating or to enhance performance. Although DHEA is non-performance enhancing, it is a banned substance therefore I am under temporary suspension.

“My sincerest apologies to you all and to Jamahal for this unfortunate series of events. This is a huge loss and an even bigger lesson.”

In a statement via Combat Sports Anti-Doping on Wednesday (22 May), the UFC said Rountree had accepted a two-month suspension backdated to 4 May.

Khalil Rountree Jr (left) has been replaced by Carlos Ulberg at UFC 303 (Getty Images)
Khalil Rountree Jr (left) has been replaced by Carlos Ulberg at UFC 303 (Getty Images)

Rountree has now been replaced at UFC 303 by Ulberg, a teammate of former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Hill vs Ulberg will play out directly before McGregor’s main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Hill won the UFC light-heavyweight title in January 2023 but vacated the belt in July after sustaining an injury. The American returned in April, challenging his successor Alex Pereira for the gold at UFC 300. Hill lost the main event via first-round knockout.

Hill is currently No 3 in the 205lbs division, while Ulberg is ranked 11th. Ulberg is riding a six-fight win streak and has won his last five bouts via stoppage. Most recently, the New Zealander knocked out Alonzo Menifield on 11 May.