Towering up-and-coming heavyweight Stefan Struve (18-3) has officially taken over for the injured Todd Duffee in a bid to throw hands with Paul Buentello (27-10) at UFC 107: "Penn vs. Sanchez" from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 12.
Buentello was last seen using Kiril Sidelnikov’s face as a human punching bag for almost three full rounds at Affliction 2: "Day of Reckoning" earlier this year. "The Headhunter" went on to eventually score a late third round technical knockout over the Russian Sambo specialist, who later tested positive for having banned substances in his system after the contest.
The win was Buentello’s second straight under the Affliction banner — he outpointed last minute replacement Gary Goodridge on the judges scorecards to earn a unanimous decision victory in the promotion’s inaugural show in 2008.
He was originally scheduled to face Gilbert Yvel (after Tim Sylvia got clowned by Ray Mercer) at the Aug.1 "Trilogy" event, but the promotion closed up shop after headliner Josh Barnett got popped for steroids.
His contract was one of many picked from the rubble by Zuffa following Affliction's demise and his experience inside the Octagon (and out) makes him an immediate factor in this division.
In fact, over his past 13 fights, Buentello has only dropped two contests — one was for a shot at Andrei Arlovski’s UFC heavyweight title back at UFC 55 and the other was at the hands of Alistair Overeem for Strikeforce in November 2007.
But don't expect the surging Hollander to be impressed by any of that.
The 20-year-old Struve recently signed a four-fight contract with the organization, earning his opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in mixed martial arts with an impressive five-fight win streak in 2008 — all of which came via submission.
Unfortunately, he received a rude welcome from the surging Junior dos Santos, who clobbered "The Skyscraper" into a first round TKO loss at UFC 95. The talented striker quickly rebounded at UFC 99 and refused to let a grisly facial cut stop him from submitting the venerable Denis Stojnic via rear naked choke.
Struve made it-back-to-back wins after disposing of Chase Gormley via first round submission just last month at UFC 104: "Machida vs. Shogun," and could make a name for himself in the 265-pound weight class by spoiling Buentello's return.
UFC 107 will feature a main event between lightweight division champion, BJ Penn, defending his title against number one division contender, Diego Sanchez, as well as a heavyweight showdown between former champion Frank Mir and Cheick Kongo.
In addition, a lightweight attraction between stars Kenny Florian and Clay Guida was recently shifted to the card to compensate for the loss of the light heavyweight showdown between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad Evans.
For more on the developing UFC 107 fight card and rumors click here.