(Hey, it could have been worse, right? / Photo via Getty Images)
In an effort to beef up a card that recently lost a title fight due to injury, the UFC has just added a heavyweight bout between Roy Nelson and Stipe Miocic to the main card of UFC 161 (June 15th, Winnipeg). It’s an unexpected booking, to say the least — and not just because it gives Nelson a speedy seven-week turnaround between fights.
“Big Country” is currently on the hottest streak of his UFC career, picking up his third-straight first-round knockout against Cheick Kongo at UFC 159 last month. Meanwhile, Miocic is a much lower-profile prospect, whose hype as an undefeated wrecking machine fell apart when he was TKO’d by Stefan Struve last September. In other words, the matchup is a bit of a step down for Nelson, who doesn’t have much to gain here other than the possibility of earning his fifth UFC Knockout of the Night bonus.
In addition, Miocic was already booked on the card against returning Australian banger Soa Palelei, who has knocked out his last eight opponents while competing in Australia. (See, now that matchup made sense.) But with UFC 161 in need of extra star power, Roy Nelson replaces Palelei, who will be sitting this event out unless he’s needed as an injury replacement. But don’t cry for Soa — he once stood up Danga for an interview, so he’s pretty much dead to us. What, you thought Dana White was only guy who could hold grudges?
In a related story, MMAJunkie reports that UFC officials are currently seeking a replacement opponent for Eddie Wineland, and if they can lock one down, UFC 161 will feature six fights on the pay-per-view card instead of the usual five. The current lineup is after the jump…
PPV MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET)
Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans (LHW)
Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (LHW)
Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic (HW)
Pat Barry vs. Shawn Jordan (HW)
Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton (women’s BW)
FX PRELIMS (8 p.m. ET)
Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley (WW)
Sam Stout vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (LW)
Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac (LHW)
FACEBOOK PRELIMS (6 p.m. ET)
Yves Jabouin vs. Dustin Pague (BW)
Sean Pierson vs. Kenny Robertson (WW)
Mitch Clarke vs. John Maguire (LW)
Roland Delorme vs. Edwin Figueroa (BW)