Mixed Martial Arts: Carlos Ulberg earns late call-up as co-main event for Conor McGregor's return at UFC 303

Carlos Ulberg.
Carlos Ulberg. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi light-heavyweight Carlos Ulberg's rise through the UFC ranks has reached warp speed, with news he'll step in as a late injury replacement to face former champion Jamahal Hill at one of the biggest events of the year.

Just two weeks after his vicious 12-second knockout of Alonzo Menifield at St Louis, the City Kickboxing product has signed on to face Hill in the co-main event of UFC 303 at Las Vegas on June 30.

He'll set the stage for the hugely anticipated return of superstar Conor McGregor, who'll face Michael Chandler in the marquee match-up.

Hill was originally scheduled to fight Khalil Rountree, who withdrew himself from the bout after taking a banned substance, which resulted in a two-month ban.  

'Sweet Dreams' is looking to bounce back from his first-round KO by Alex Pereira with the vacant light-heavyweight belt on the line at UFC 300. Hill was forced to vacate the title due to an Achilles injury, after defeating Glover Texeira to claim the crown in January 2023.

Ulberg's showstopping KO at St Louis saw him enter the official rankings at No.11, after recording his sixth straight victory and fifth consecutive finish.

The bout offers the two-time King in the Ring champion a platinum opportunity to stake his claim for the belt, with victory certain to put his name near the front of the queue to challenge Pereira for the title.

Jamahal Hill.
Jamahal Hill. Photo credit: Getty Images

Days before his evisceration of Menifield, Ulberg said a match-up against Pereira was inevitable.

"I know it's going to happen," he told Newshub. "I know, eventually, it's going to happen, for sure.

"It's definitely a fight that I want to have for sure. He's dominant right now." 

As did Ulberg, American Hill made his way to the UFC via Dana White's Contender Series and has since compiled a record of 6-2-1.

In the main event, McGregor will make his first Octagon appearance in almost three years, dating back to a first-round TKO to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. The Irishman's last win was against Donald Cerrone in January 2020.