The dreaded injury bug recently struck again, forcing Antonio “Little Nog” Rogerio Nogueira to pull out of his scheduled UFC 161 bout against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Fortunately for UFC matchmakers, finding a suitable replacement wasn’t particularly difficult, as the “American Gangster,” Chael Sonnen, quickly volunteered to take one for the team on short notice.
“@ShogunRua I HEAR BRAZILIAN CHICKEN IS OFF THE MENU,” Sonnen tweeted. “AMERICAN GANGSTER IS STILL AVAILABLE IF YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR WAITRESS OVER.”
Apparently, Sonnen’s taunt worked, as he’ll now face Shogun at UFC 161. Globo’s Ivan Rupp broke the news, but it’s yet to be confirmed by UFC officials.
If Rupp’s report turns out to be accurate, Sonnen vs. Rua is now the co-main event of the UFC 161 fight card which is set for June 15, at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Canada. The event will be headlined by former champions Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans.
After losing consecutive bouts to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, Sonnen was originally targeting Wanderlei Silva as his next opponent. However, an agreement was never finalized between the two. Turns out to be a good thing since Sonnen will now get to fight Rua, who is currently ranked eighth in the light-heavyweight division on the UFC’s official rankings. A win against Wanderlei wouldn’t have done much for Sonnen in terms of moving him closer to another title shot.
Usually, replacement bouts aren’t as intriguing as the original matchup, but Sonnen vs. Rua is clearly a better matchup than what was originally planned. There’s already the Sonnen vs. all of Brazil angle, and both fighters matchup well skill wise.
I expect an entertaining, competitive matchup when these two meet inside the Octagon, and Sonnen certainly deserves a lot of credit for consistently sticking with his ‘I’ll fight anyone, anywhere’ code.