The TUF Brazil 3 finale on May 31 has taken a massive hit with an injury to main event fighter Junior dos Santos. “Cigano” has been forced out of a scheduled clash against Stipe Miocic because of a broken hand. It would’ve been the former heavyweight champion’s first appearance since a one-sided fifth round TKO loss to Cain Velasquez in their trilogy bout at UFC 166.
With the Brazilian forced to the sidelines, the organization is now left scrambling to either find a new opponent for Miocic on short notice or install an entirely new main event. The card was initially slated to have the grudge match between Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen as its headliner, but that clash involving the two TUF Brazil coaches was shifted to UFC 175 in July.
When that move was made the JDS-Miocic matchup was moved back a week from the originally scheduled May 24 date at UFC 173 in Las Vegas. Now the most notable matchup for the Brazil event later this month is a welterweight clash between Demian Maia and Alexander Yakovlev.
It has to be disappointing news for Miocic who was undoubtedly looking forward to the biggest test of his career. He’s entered the top-10 rankings by going 5-1 inside the Octagon and is coming off victories over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga. With a number of heavyweights currently scheduled for other fights, injured or suspended, there aren’t many available options to face the No. 7 ranked Miocic.
As for dos Santos, it looks like it’ll be awhile before fans get to see him compete again inside the Octagon. Despite the loss to Velasquez, he’s widely regarded as the second best heavyweight in the organization. It would have been his first appearance in Brazil fighting under the UFC banner. He’s hoping to draw another assignment on his home soil once his hand is healed.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports