Sean Strickland will headline the opening pay-per-view in 2024 when he faces off against Dricus Du Plessis.
The UFC middleweight champion dominated Israel Adesanya in September to claim the title in front of a packed crown in Sydney, Australia.
However, the American will now gear up to defend his title on January 20 in Toronto, Canada, after UFC CEO Dana White announced a host of PPV main events for the early part of 2024
It is unclear whether the decision to hand Du Plessis the first shot at Strickland’s title was born out of concerns about Chimaev’s hand injury or reported issues when it comes to travelling to North America.
Du Plessis will provide a more than able opponent for Strickland after securing top contender status at UFC 290 in July.
The South African caused a huge shock when he knocked out former champion Robert Whittaker in round two at the International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
The fight marks the second title fight to be confirmed for the event, with a co-main event between Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva for the vacant bantamweight championship also billed.
Also announced for 2024 are the blockbuster fights between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria for the featherweight title in February while Sean O’Malley defends his bantamweight belt against Marlon Vera in March.
The UFC are yet to clarify the timings and locations of the featherweight and bantamweight fights.