Bad news has hit the seemingly cursed UFC Fight Night event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is just two weeks away. Sherdog’s CJ Tuttle reports that welterweight fan favorite Ben Saunders suffered an injury in training and has pulled out of his fight with Brazil’s Erick Silva. Neither Saunders nor the UFC has officially confirmed his removal from the Fox Sports 1 televised main card.
Saunders (18-6-2) is 2-0 in his UFC return after he was released from the promotion in 2011. He recorded the UFC’s first ever omoplata stoppage against Chris Heatherly, and then defeated Joe Riggs after Riggs injured his neck in the 1st round. Silva (17-5, 1 NC) rebounded from a tough TKO loss to Matt Brown last May by quickly submitting Mike Rhodes in December. The 31-year-old has yet to win consecutive fights inside the Octagon.
This fight was bumped to the co-main event after Josh Thomson vs. Gilbert Burns was scrapped due to a Thomson injury. Thomson vs. Burns was given co-main honors only because the original co-main of Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare was moved to the main event after the previous headliner of Urijah Faber vs. Raphael Assuncao fell through. Add that to Matt Wiman being replaced by Tony Martin vs. Leandro Santos on the main card and you have a drastically different main card than originally planned.
There are no other welterweights on the show aside from Silva, Maia, and LaFlare, so if the UFC does find a replacement opponent, it will not be from this particular card.
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