A bantamweight title fight between current champion Renan Barao and TJ Dillashaw will now headline UFC 173 on May 24th.
The bout replaces the originally intended middleweight title encounter between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida which has now been postponed until UFC 175 due to the champion requiring minor surgery on both his knees.
Barao has yet to take off as a pay-per-view star for the UFC, but his record is second to none. He currently holds a perfect 7-0 record inside the Octagon and in total has enjoyed a remarkable nine year unbeaten stretch, only tasting defeat in his first ever professional fight.
The Brazilian had to wait around for a title shot for far longer than would normally be the case due to former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz’s protracted injury battles which left the belt in limbo. After serving as the interim champ for over a year, Barao finally got his just rewards earlier this year after Cruz vacated the title and he then cemented himself as the 135lb kingpin with a first round TKO victory over Urijah Faber.
Dillashaw gets his chance to fight for the belt despite going 1-1 in his last two fights, though he did look impressive in his last outing, a convincing victory over Mike Easton in January.
His loss came by way of split decision against another top contender Raphael Assuncao back in October of last year, and with the Brazilian currently injured, the No.5 ranked Dillashaw gets the title opportunity instead.
A heavyweight encounter between Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic will serve as the Las Vegas show’s co-main event, and in all honesty the star power quickly tapers off after that, making this an event that may struggle to make an impact in terms of PPV sales.