The UFC is currently seeking a welterweight fighter willing to take on a rising contender on short notice.
MMAjunkie today confirmed with promotion officials that Thiago Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC) has been forced to withdraw from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 co-headliner, and Mike Perry (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is in need of a new opponent.
Alves’ representatives weren’t immediately available for comment or details on the fighter’s withdrawal.
Featuring a middleweight matchup between former UFC champ Luke Rockhold (15-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and former dual-division WSOF title holder David Branch (21-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), UFC Fight Night 116 takes place Saturday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, and it airs on FS1 following an early prelim on UFC Fight Pass.
Alves vs. Perry had second billing on the card.Related UFC Fight Night 116 pre-event facts: Which headliner is least-hit fighter in UFC history?
In his most recent outing, Perry scored a knockout win over Jake Ellenberger with a devastating elbow at April’s UFC Fight Night 108 to earn a “Performance of the Night” bonus. The victory was a resounding answer to the first loss of his career, which came to Alan Jouban in December at UFC on FOX 22.
Alves, meanwhile, had hoped to enter the cage riding some momentum after winning a unanimous decision over Patrick Cote at UFC 210 in April. Since his 2009 title fight loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 100, the 33-year-old Brazilian has managed just a 5-5 record.
The latest UFC Fight Night 116 card includes:
MAIN CARD (FS1, 10 p.m. ET)Luke Rockhold vs. David BranchMike Perry vs. TBAHector Lombard vs. Anthony SmithGregor Gillespie vs. Jason GonzalezSergio Moraes vs. Kamaru UsmanJustin Ledet vs. Zu Anyanwu
PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)Tony Martin vs. Olivier Aubin-MercierAnthony Hamilton vs. Daniel SpitzUriah Hall vs. Krzysztof JotkoFelipe Arantes vs. Luke Sanders
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 p.m. ET)Gilbert Burns vs. Jason Saggo
For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.