As if the loss of one high-profile Thiago wasn’t bad enough, UFC 149 (July 21st; Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is now short two Thiagos, with welterweight Thiago Alves having to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury.
Replacing him in his scheduled match against Afghan knockout-machine Siyar Bahadurzada will be Canadian striker Chris Clements, the MMA record-holder who out-pointed Keith Wisniewski in his Octagon debut at UFC 145. (Fun fact: Bahadurzada was himself a replacement for Yoshihiro Akiyama against Alves. And round and round it goes.)
Based on the way that Bahadurzada smoked Paulo Thiago in his own UFC debut back in April, we have a feeling that Clements could be in deep do-doo here. And speaking of potential mismatches…
MMA Fighting reports that reigning DREAM bantamweight champion (for whatever that’s worth) Bibiano Fernandes has been signed by the UFC and will debut at UFC 149 against TUF 14 castmember Roland Delorme.
Fernandes first gained a reputation as the featherweight champion of DREAM — where he scored victories over Masakazu Imanari, Joe Warren, Hiroyuki Takaya, and Joachim Hansen — but dropped to bantamweight after losing his belt in a rematch with Takaya. Since then, the BJJ black belt has gone 3-0 at the lighter weight, most recently defeating Rodolfo Marques and Antonio Banuelos in the same night to win DREAM’s bantamweight strap.
On paper, Delorme’s 8-1 record and failed TUF stint look far less impressive than Fernandes’s credentials, but he’s already notched two official wins in the UFC — a pair of rear-naked choke victories over Josh Ferguson and Nick Denis — which gives him an experience advantage where it counts. Anybody picking the Canadian for the upset?
(Fernandes’s TKO finish of Banuelos, 12/31/11)