UFC 155 is only two weeks away and Karlos Vemola is hopefully the last of fighters in 2012 to be forced to withdraw from a fight card due to injury. He was set to face Chris Leben (22-8, MMA) at the UFC’s end of the year card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV on December 29th.
Luckily, former Strikeforce middleweight, Derek Brunson (9-2, MMA) has stepped up to the challenge and will meet Leben in the Octagon (as first reported by MMAJunkie.com). It will be Brunson’s first fight with the UFC and it couldn’t come at a better time for Brunson who’s had a tough year to say the least.
Brunson had tried out and made the cut to be on The Ultimate Fighter’s 17th season. However, he was still under contract with Strikeforce and was unable to compete on the series.
Undoubtedly, Brunson will look to make a name for himself with the UFC and also bounce back into the win column. In his last fight with Strikeforce, Brunson was knocked out by the promotion’s former middleweight champion, Jacare Souza, in just 41 seconds. Prior to that, he suffered a loss at the hands of Kendall Grove at ShoFight 20 which was for that promotion’s middleweight title.
Leben is one of the UFC’s inaugural TUF competitors. He comes into the Octagon after being suspended for a year; the consequence of testing positive for Oxycotin following a loss to Mark Munoz at UFC 138.
Leben vs Brunson will air on the pay-per-view card of UFC 155 as the first bout. A heavyweight rematch between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez is set to be the card’s main event.