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Kahuku’s Dan Ige loses unanimous decision as last-minute replacement at UFC 303

                                Dan Ige (red gloves) fights Diego Lopes (blue gloves) during UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena.
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Dan Ige (red gloves) fights Diego Lopes (blue gloves) during UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena.

Kahuku alum Dan Ige lost a unanimous decision to Diego Lopes in a fight that wasn’t officially made until Saturday afternoon at UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Accepting the bout on a few hours notice, Ige, who lives and trains in Las Vegas, replaced Brian Ortega in a 165-pound catchweight fight after Ortega fell ill following Friday’s weigh-ins.

Ige came to the arena and weighed in at 164.5 pounds while Lopes had to weigh in again and was 161 pounds. Ige had cleared his pre-fight medical obligations in part because he had already done it preparing for a bout on July 20 against Chepe Mariscal.

Lopes, who said he didn’t know he would be fighting Ige until 4 p.m. local time in Las Vegas, won the first two rounds before Ige put a scare into Lopes in the third.

Ige landed clean power shots standing and spent the final two minutes on top of Lopes on the mat, landing a series of significant strikes with his left hand as Lopes survived the final bell.

“It doesn’t matter. Eight weeks, six weeks, four weeks, four hours. It doesn’t matter,” Ige said in a postfight interview in the cage with UFC commentator Joe Rogan. “This is what I live for. This is my dream. I get to wake up and do what I love.”

All three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Lopes.

>> PHOTOS: Ige fights at UFC 303

The Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned the fight in part because Ige and Lopes matched up in the UFC rankings. Lopes entered the fight ranked No. 14 at featherweight while Ige was No. 13 at 145 pounds.

“I was asleep on the couch, getting a massage, and they called me,” Ige said in a video released by the UFC on social media before the start of the main card. “Big opportunity. This is what legends are made of. You’ve got to stay ready for these kind of opportunities.”

Ige dropped to 18-8 overall and 10-7 in the UFC while Lopes improved to 25-6 and 4-1.

“All the respect to Dan Ige. Not many guys take a fight with three hours notice,” Lopes said through a translator in the post fight interview. “ As I said yesterday at the weigh-in, whoever, whenever, however, I will fight anybody. Today, 4 p.m., I found out this fight was changing. It doesn’t matter. I will fight anybody.”

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