Jorge Santiago will cut to welterweight for his third Octagon run, as promotion officials announced Wednesday that the former Sengoku middleweight titlist will replace an injured Justin Edwards against Gunnar Nelson at UFC on Fuel TV 7.
The Feb. 16 event is headlined by an interim bantamweight showdown pitting reigning champion Renan Barao against rising talent Michael McDonald. The show takes place at Wembley Arena in London and will also see Cub Swanson lock horns with Dustin Poirier in a pivotal featherweight clash. The evening’s main card airs live on Fuel TV, while Facebook streams the preliminary card.
Santiago has gone 2-0 since an ill-fated two-fight return to the UFC in 2011 netted him losses to Brian Stann and Demian Maia, bringing his overall Octagon record to 1-4. Following his recent UFC exit, “The Sandman” joined the Kansas-based Titan Fighting Championship, posting first-round finishes over onetime Bellator competitor Leonardo Pecanha and Justin Guthrie last year.
Known for his strong jiu-jitsu skills, Nelson, 24, enters the cage eight years younger than his new opponent. The undefeated Icelander was impressive in his promotional debut this past September, as “Gunni” routinely took DaMarques Johnson’s back and submitted “The Ultimate Fighter 9” finalist with a rear-naked choke in just 3:34 at UFC on Fuel TV 5.