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Chris Weidman pulled from UFC 181, Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler takes over as Dec. 6 main event

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Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) suffered a mighty blow to its upcoming UFC 181 pay-per-view (PPV) fight card, as reigning middleweight champion Chris Weidman has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled Vitor Belfort fight on Dec. 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The culprit? A fractured hand, likely suffered prior to his Lyoto Machida fight back in July.

"Everything happens for a reason," trainer Ray Longo told MMA Fighting. "We're gonna get Chris healthy and then we're going to steamroll this guy. Believe me."

But the news isn't all bad.

While fight fans won't get to see Weidman vs. Belfort until February, UFC President Dana White (via Ariel Helwani) was able to convince welterweight kingpin Johny Hendricks to come back ahead of schedule (after this), and put his 170-pound title on the line against Robbie Lawler in a rematch from their UFC 171 barnburner back in March.

Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez will remain as UFC 181 co main event.