With Mark Hunt receiving his work visa in the eleventh hour to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, and punch Junior dos Santos in the face at UFC 160, which takes place this upcoming Saturday night (May 25, 2013), it took the heat off Roy Nelson to make a quick turnaround and help save the Memorial Day weekend pay-per-view (PPV) event.
Not so fast.
When interim Bantamweight champion Renan Barao was forced to withdraw from his upcoming UFC 161 main event appearance against Eddie Wineland at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on June 15, 2013 (more here), the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion was left with another fight card hole to fill.
It implemented a quick fix, promoting the pivotal 205-pound showdown between Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans to the top of the marquee (more here), but Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matchmakers continued to tinker into the late evening.
And once again "Big Country" was integral piece of its short notice plans, according to Damon Martin at Bleacher Report.
Nelson, fresh off a first round knockout of Cheick Kongo at UFC 159 last month (April 27, 2013), will indeed make a rapid return to the Octagon, taking on up-and-coming Heavyweight prospect Stipe Miocic, who most recently suffered the first loss of his professional 10-fight MMA career at UFC on Fuel TV 5, getting pounded out by Stefan Strufe in the second round of their main event clash back in Sept. 2012.
Miocic was already booked to welcome Soa Palelei back to the eight-walled cage on the UFC 161 "Prelims" under card; however, it appears that the former Golden Gloves boxing champion, NCAA Division I wrestler at Cleveland State University and in-demand collegiate baseball prospect, will have a much bigger fish to fry this summer.
Will he pull off the upset or will Nelson make it four straight?
In addition to the main event between Henderson and Evans, UFC 161 will feature another meaningful Light Heavyweight bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Rua on the PPV, as well as a Heavyweight tilt between Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan, among others.
It's unclear at this time who the promotion will find to step up and take on the suddenly opponent-less "Hulk."