The UFC's recent plauge of injuries has attacked once again. Thiago Silva and Michael Bisping have been forced out of their bouts with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch, respectively. This is a case, however, where the replacements are fitting enough to have us rejoicing in the new matchups as opposed too lamenting the former pairings.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (pictured above) will now face Brandon "The Truth" Vera in the Main Event at UFC on Fox 4. This exciting clash of two of the most technical Muay Thai stylists in the buisness was arranged after the afformentioned injury to Thiago Silva. Vera, whose stock has dropped from the days when he was one of the top prospects in the sport, is coming off of a decision win over Eliot Marshall. Vera was released from the promotion after a decision loss to Thiago Silva, but reinstated after the fight was ruled a No Contest due to Thiago turning in a non-human urine sample following the fight. The Marshall fight was then arranged and saw Vera win the first two rounds before getting dropped and injured with an armbar in the third round, resulting in 29-28 scores across the board.
Rua is coming off of a decision loss in perhaps the greatest fight of all time to Dan Henderson, in a fight that most critics agree should have been scored a draw. Although Shogun was dropped or badly hurt in the first three rounds he rallied to win the final two frames with takedowns, position and ground and pound. Perhaps more importantly, his performance late in the fight showed fans that he still has the fire to compete, and the will to dig deep when a fight is not going his way. He also showed flashes of the legendary Chute Boxe conditioning that made the Rua brothers famous and Pride, something that had not been present since he left Pride.
Hector Lombard was scheduled to compete against Brian Stann as the headline for UFC on Fox 4. But injuries to both Stann and Michael "The Count" Bisping left Hector and Tim Boetsch opponent-less, the UFC has matched up Lombard and The Barbarian for UFC 149.
The bout is a little less lucrative for Boetsch, as he went from facing a top 5 UFC Middleweight to facing a promotional newcomer whom many question is a top 10 middleweight. Though Lombard has amassed the longest win streak in MMA, the level of competition he has faced since leaving Pride has been undeniably lower than UFC level. That hasn't slowed down the Cuban Judo wrecking machine though, as he ran through all the compeition in Bellator en reute to capturing the title and defending it multiple times.
Boetsch himself is coming off of a miraculous comeback stoppage of Yushin Okami in the Land of The Rising Sun at UFC 144. After being beaten soundly in all areas of the fight for two rounds, he came back to bludgeon Okami with uppercuts from the single collar tie.