It's not Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort -- nor Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida -- but Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw will just have to do for the UFC 173 main event.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will turn to its talented Bantamweight champion to headline its annual Memorial Day weekend card, which will take place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 24, 2014, according to USA Today.
That's because Weidman was recently forced to withdraw from the event because of a bum knee, pushing his Middleweight championship match against Machida to UFC 175 (read full details here).
Barao is fresh off a first round technical knockout of Urijah Faber at UFC 169 back in Feb. 2014, which served as his first-ever undisputed 135-pound title defense because former champion Dominick Cruz cannot stay healthy. The Brazilian is in the midst of a ridiculous 32-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) win streak.
Dillashaw, the No. 5-ranked fighter in the division, picked up an important unanimous decision win over Mike Easton at UFC Fight Night 35 earlier this year. The Team Alpha Male-trained standout has just one loss, Raphael Assuncao, in six appearances inside the Octagon since losing out to John Dodson for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 crown back in 2011.
According to the report, Assuncao was possibly the leading candidate to challenge Barao; however, "lingering injuries" ruled him out of the running.
See Assuncao's reaction here.
Dillashaw was originally scheduled to fight Takeya Mizugaki on the same pay-per-view (PPV) main card. It's unclear at this time if UFC will hunt for a new opponent for Mizugaki or promote an existing "Prelims" match.
In addition to the new main event, UFC 173 will feature the return of former Heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos, against Stipe Miocic, as well as a pair of Lightweight matches that feature Anthony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno and James Krause vs. Jamie Varner.
To check out the latest UFC 173: "Barao vs. Dillashaw" fight card and rumors click here.