Heavyweights Derrick (The Black Beast) Lewis and Travis (Hapa) Browne will face off in the new main event of a televised UFC Fight Night card in Halifax next month.
Former champion Junior Dos Santos, ranked fourth among heavyweight contenders, was originally set to meet No. 11 Stefan (Skyscraper) Struve in the main event Feb. 19 at Scotiabank Centre. But Struve, who was stopped in the first round when the two first met in 2009, pulled out with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Lewis, ranked No. 8 among heavyweights, and No. 9 Browne were originally slated to meet Feb. 11 at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Lewis (17-4-0 with one no contest) is 8-2-0 in the UFC and has won his last five fights. Browne (18-5-1) has lost three of his last four against top opposition, beaten by Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez most recently.
The Halifax card will also see former welterweight champion Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks move up to middleweight to face Hector Lombard (34-6-2 with two no contests). Hendricks, who is ranked 11th among welterweight contenders, has had a history of problems making weight as a 170-pounder.
Hendricks (17-5-0) has lost his last three fights â€” against Neil Magny, Kevin Gastelum and Stephen (Wonderboy) Thompson. Lombard, who has also fought at welterweight, lost to Dan Henderson and Magny most recently.
A win over Josh Burkman in January 2015 was turned into a no contest after the Cuban-born American-based fighter failed a drug test. He was suspended for one year and fined.
In other newly announced bouts for the Halifax show, No. 7 Sara McMann (10-3-0) will take on No. 8 Liz Carmouche (10-5-0) in a women’s bantamweight matchup.
Newly signed Gavin Tucker (9-0-0), a native of Ship Cove, N.L., fighting out of Halifax, will face featherweight Sam Sicilia (15-7-0). Ryan Janes (9-1-0), a Newfoundland native based out of Vancouver, will take on middleweight Gerald Meerschaert (25-8-0).
Lightweight Alessandro Ricci (10-4-0) of Woodbridge, Ont., gets a new opponent in Paul (The Irish Dragon) Felder (12-3-0) after Mexico’s Alvaro Herrera was injured.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press