One of the most anticipated rematches in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was put on hold Friday when defending light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier pulled out of UFC 197 due to a leg injury. His heated showdown with former champ Jon Jones temporarily shelved, the Las Vegas-based MMA giant has been scrambling to keep the event afloat.
On an afternoon edition of ESPN staple program "SportsCenter," UFC President Dana White announced that Ovince St. Preux will step in for the injured Cormier and take on "Bones."
Rumored replacement opponents for the troubled star were Anthony Johnson and former champ Rashad Evans, but White surprised the MMA world by revealing that "OSP" was the choice.
"Obviously, the No. 1 choice would be Anthony Johnson, who is the No. 2 ranked guy in the world and a fight that everybody wants to see," White said. "But Anthony Johnson just had surgery on his mouth and can’t even put a mouthpiece in for at least three weeks. So, as you go down the line, other guys have fights set up … Rashad Evans is fighting the week after against Glover Teixeira. So he already has a fight. Plus Rashad Evans is ranked No. 7; Ovince Saint Preux is ranked No. 6. So, No. 1 versus No. 6 makes the most sense.”
UFC 197 takes place April 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. While the main card will air live on pay-per-view, the undercard will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and the prelims on UFC's Fight Pass online platform.