Kamaru Usman now has a new opponent for the main event of UFC Fight Night 129 in Santiago, Chile on May 19th after Santiago Ponzinibbio withdrew due to his left hand being injured during a sparring session.
In his place steps fellow Brazilian Demian Maia, who takes the short notice fight as he looks to bounce back from back-to-back losses in the Octagon, losing out by decision to welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 214 and then going to another defeat on the scorecards against Colby Covington a few months later.
Prior to that the 40-year-old had been on a seven-fight winning streak, and as such he still holds down the No.5 spot in the divisional rankings heading into this fight.
As for Usman, the 30-year-old is one of the division’s most in-form fighters, having racked up 11 victories in a row, seven of which have occured inside the UFC’s Octagon.
During that spell Usman has defeated the likes of Leon Edwards, Warlley Alves, Sergio Moraes and Emil Meek, leaving him ranked No.7 in the division, but there’s no doubt that Maia will be a big step up in competition for the ‘Nigerian Nightmare.’
Maia Vs Usman helps shore up a UFC Fight Night 129 card that was also recently hit by another blow when it’s co-main event between Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Volkan Oezdemir also fell through.