The UFC moved swiftly to find a replacement opponent for number one UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes when 145-pound champ Jose Aldo bowed out of a planned late summer match-up with the 26-year-old Hanford, California native earlier in the week. According to MMAJunkie, the promotion has inked Rani Yahya to face Mendes at UFC 133 August 6 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
According to Aldo, contrary to a Heavy.com report, he did not injure himself since his fight with Mark Hominick in April, but he is dealing with lingering nagging injuries that are going to take some time and rest to heal. As such, he was instructed by his doctor to take the time to heal up and take care of his afflictions before stepping back into the Octagon in the Fall.
News of the Mendes-Yahya pairing was first reported by MMAJunkie.com.
The fight could prove a huge opportunity for Yahya, an accomplished grappler who holds wins over Hominick and former WEC featherweight champions Mike Brown and Eddie Wineland. With guys like Josh Grispi and Dustin Poirier already booked for fights, Yahya was the next man down on the list who wasn’t already spoken for.
Mark Hominick was another fighter who was being considered, but considering he is still under a medical suspension in Canada from his UFC 129 war with Aldo and the fact that he and his wife had their first baby two weeks ago, he’s likely taking a much deserved vacation.