#5 ranked heavyweight Ben Rothwell (36-10) has been forced out of his bout with former champion Fabricio Werdum (20-6) due to a knee injury, reported by MMAJunkie.com. While it is still unknown how serious of an injury he sustained, it is confirmed that he will be forced out of his bout against Werdum September 10th. With about a month until UFC 203, the UFC will be looking for an opponent to step in and face the former champion. The bout was slated to be set as the co-main event so it is unknown if it will still be.
Fabricio Werdum is coming off of his first loss in his last 7 bouts, losing the title in his hometown of Brazil against current champion Stipe Miocic in the first round. Werdum was looking to bounce back from his loss against a top ranked opponent in order to get his name back in the conversation of the next title contender.
Rothwell had an impressive 4-fight win streak up until facing Junior dos Santos back in April, losing a unanimous decision. Rothwell was on the best run of his career leading up to that fight, and looked as if he was a fight away from being next in line for a title shot. This injury is a huge set back for the 34-year-old.
Some replacements that make a ton of sense would be a rematch between Cain Velasquez in a number 1 contender bout. Velasquez is coming of an impressive first round KO win against Travis Browne at UFC 200 and they were set to be booked recently until he had to pull out due to injury. Another bout that makes sense is dos Santos, who in many peoples opinions deserved this bout against Werdum due to beating Rothwell in his last outing. Another opponent who made it clear on twitter that he wants a piece of the former champion is Derrick Lewis who is coming off of a win against Roy Nelson. Lewis tweeted, “@Thebeast_ufc: I’m just sitting here thinking about knocking that stupid smile off of Werdum face @ufc”
The UFC has yet to comment on this injury or name a replacement thus far. This is the 71st main or co-main event that has had a change dating back to January 2015.
UFC 203 will be headlined by a championship heavyweight fight between Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem in the champions hometown of Cleveland Ohio. The card also features the highly anticipated debut of former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks
Update: According to MMAJunkie, Travis Browne will now meet Fabricio Werdum at UFC 203.