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Tim Kennedy vs Rafael Natal fight to serve as re-worked UFC Fight for Troops 3 main event

Rafael Natal wasn't Tim Kennedy's first choice to replace Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for Troops 3," but "Sapo" it seems suits the U.S. Special Forces Army Ranger just fine.

"Opportunity knocks Rafael Natal you always win, but no one knows who you are. When I'm done with you, neither will you (tough guy voice)."

Natal was among the many Middleweight names that Tim Kennedy solicited on when he was left "heartbroken" that his original UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for the Troops 3" opponent, Lyoto Machida, was required to fill-in for the injured Michael Bisping against Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 later this month (full details here).

And the under-radar Brazilian apparently answered the Green Beret's call to arms.

Kennedy and Natal will collide in a 185-pound showdown in "Fight for the Troops 3" main event, which takes place at Ft. Campbell in Hopkinsville, Ky., on Weds., Nov. 6, 2013, airing live on FOX Sports 1.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made the announcement (read it here) earlier this evening:

"After lobbying for several days on Twitter, Kennedy finally found a taker: Machida's countryman Rafael 'Sapo' Natal, who has won five of his last six bouts, all in convincing fashion. The Brazilian "Sapo" looks to make a statement in his first UFC main event, which is scheduled for five rounds."

Kennedy (16-4), an upper-echelon Strikeforce import who earned title shots against Ronaldo Souza and Luke Rockhold during his stint with the promotion and was unsuccessful both times (via decision), has won his last two fights, including his Octagon debut against Roger Gracie at UFC 162 this past July.

Natal (17-4), who was originally scheduled to fight Ed Herman at UFC 167 next month, is coming off a "Fight of the Night"-winning performance against Tor Troeng at UFC Fight Night 28 last month in Brazil. It was the third straight win for "Sapo," who is 5-1 since his majority draw against Jesse Bongfeldt nearly three years ago.

The leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion assured fight fans that a new opponent for Herman will be named soon, a switch-up that hopefully ends the musical chairs.

In addition to Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal main event, UFC Fight Night 31 features a female Bantamweight clash between Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis, as well as two main card Lightweight bouts between Rustam Khabilov vs. Jorge Masvidal and Michael Chiesa vs. Colton Smith, among others.

For the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 31 news and notes be sure to check out our comprehensive event archive by right here. And for the latest "Fight for the Troops 3" fight card and rumors click here.

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