The UFC has installed a new headliner for its next event in Brazil. A heavyweight clash between former champion Junior dos Santos and rising contender Stipe Miocic is being moved from the co-main event of UFC 173 on May 24 into the headlining slot of the TUF: Brazil 3 finale on May 31. It will be a home turf advantage for the Brazilian ”Cigano”, who is fighting for the first time since losing his trilogy bout against champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 166.
Dos Santos remains one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the organization and will be looking to prove that he’s still championship material. It will be the first time that he’s fought in Brazil under the UFC banner. Dos Santos has made 12 previous Octagon appearances, going an impressive 10-2 with eight finishes. Both of those losses have come at the hands of Velasquez.
With the change in plans, Miocic now finds himself going from Las Vegas, where UFC 173 is being held, to hostile territory in Sao Paulo for the clash against JDS. He’s compiled an 11-1 career mark, and seems ready for what undoubtedly looms as the biggest test of his career. His most recent effort was a unanimous decision victory over veteran Gabriel Gonzaga.
The change was made after the organization decided to move the grudge match between TUF Brazil coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva to UFC 175. It marks the third time that the fight has been moved. The bad blood between the two bitter rivals should help increase PPV buys and the fight is expected to serve as the co-main event for the July 5 card that is headlined by the middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida.
A Weidman injury and subsequent surgery forced his bout with Machida to be pushed back from its original May 24 date at UFC 173 and has prompted many recent changes to the promotion’s initial plans.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports