Undefeated bantamweight Aljamain Sterling (8-0) will make his UFC debut when he replaces Bryan Caraway against Lucas Martins (13-1) at UFC 170 on Feb. 22.
UFC officials announced the change for the fight card set for the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Tuesday it was announced that Caraway had suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw from the contest.
The 24-year-old Octagon newcomer trains out of the Serra-Longo Fight Team in New York. A former Cage Fury Fighting Championships title holder, Sterling has finished four men via submission and one by TKO. Sterling last fought at CFFC 30 where he successfully defended his strap, submitting Joel Roberts via rear-naked choke in the first round. According to an interview done with MMA Junkie, “Funk Master” was also formerly mentored by UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.
Lucas Martins has won 2 straight bouts since suffering his first professional loss to Edson Barbosa at UFC on FX 7. The Brazilian fought once more at lightweight, defeating Jeremy Larsen via KO last May. From there, Martins dropped to bantamweight where he met Junior Hernandez and submitted him in the first round. The 25-year-old will compete for the first time outside of his native Brazil at UFC 170.
The Feb 22 fight card will emanate from the Mandalay Bay Events Center and will be headlined by a women’s bantamweight championship bout which features two undefeated Olympic medalists. UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey puts her title on the line a third time against Sara McMann in the main event.