With Hector Lombard being forced out of his headline bout with Brian Stann at ‘UFC On FOX 4’ in August, the UFC have now opted to come up with an entirely new match-up to front the show.
It’s now been announced that former light-heavyweight champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua will face Brandon Vera in the main event instead.
In terms of their current standing in the division this fight could be seen as a curious bit of match-making.
‘Shogun’ has gone 2-3 recently, but his losses have all come to top level talent such as Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones and Dan Henderson – taking two of them to controversial decisions, while he’s also notched up big wins over Machida in a rematch and Forrest Griffin.
On the other hand Vera has gone 1-2-1 during the same period, and if it hadn’t been for a loss to Thiago Silva being overturned after the Brazilian failed a post-fight drugs test it would have been 1-3.
In fact the UFC actually released Vera from his contract due to his poor form after the Silva fight, only to bring him back after learning of Silva’s indiscretion.
Clearly the UFC have been willing to overlook the lack of logic in this match-making from a rankings perspective in order to ensure what should be an exciting and engaging stand-up war in the headline slot of this high-profile show between these two renowned strikers.
Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader, two more closely matched contenders in the division who remain as the co-main event for the evening may feel snubbed by the decision though.
Overall it’s not the kind of headliner that suggests big ratings for the FOX show in August, but let’s face it, Stann Vs Lombard wasn’t either and ‘Shogun’ and Vera are actually better known amongst casual fans than either of them so it’s not a complete disaster.