UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has fractured one of his hands, so his upcoming fight with Vitor Belfort on December 6th which had been set to headline UFC 181 has now been postponed.
“Weidman has a hairline fracture,” UFC president Dana White announced on Twitter. “It will be casted 4 weeks, cleared in 6. He’ll be fighting Vitor in February now.”
The UFC 181 event could still have gone ahead with the original co-main event lightweight title fight between TUF 20 coaches Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez moving up to headline duties, but it seems that the promotion are eager to make a big spash with this show as they’ve decided to draft in another title fight instead.
That means that welterweight champion Johny Hendricks will now front the Las Vegas event in a rematch with Robbie Lawler.
The two men previously waged a five round war against each other back in March. It proved to be one of the best fights of the year and was competitive throughout, with Hendricks emerging as the winner by unanimous decision.
Since then Lawler has continued to stay active, earning a TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger and decision win over Matt Brown to re-establish himself as the division’s No.1 contender.
Meanwhile, Hendricks has been out of action since their last fight due to having surgery on a torn bicep injury. He’s back to full training now though and had been looking to firm up a date for his return meeting with Lawler.
Just a few days ago Hendricks camp were speculating that it was going to be February before the fight would take place due to all the big PPV cards before then already being booked up, but Weidman’s injury opened up the possibility to do it earlier and it seems that both men have jumped at the chance to fight in December.
“I’m excited for this @ufc title fight!” Lawler wrote on Twitter. “Let’s do this! Thank u fans!”
“Heck yes!” Hendricks also replied on Twitter to a message from reporter Ariel Helwani announcing the fight.
The loss of Weidman Vs Belfort could have been a major blow for UFC 181, but Hendricks Vs Lawler II feels like a perfect replacement, and with Pettis Vs Melendez still set as the co-main event this remains one of the must-see cards of the year.