One power puncher will replace another at UFC 146, as promotion officials announced Thursday that Mark Hunt has suffered an injury and will be unable to compete against Stefan Struve. Fighting in Hunt’s stead will be Lavar Johnson, who looks to maintain his perfect Octagon record.
UFC 146 takes place May 26 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be headlined by a heavyweight title collision between Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir.
Hunt’s withdrawal from the event completes the main card’s total transformation: Not one current matchup was originally scheduled for the all-heavyweight pay-per-view. The massive shakeup was triggered last month when Alistair Overeem withdrew from his scheduled main event with dos Santos and Mir was instead granted the title shot.
Johnson steps in on just nine days’ notice to face the lanky Dutchman. The 34-year-old last competed May 5, when he handed Pat Barry a devastating knockout defeat at UFC on Fox 3. The victory marked Johnson’s second UFC victory; he was also triumphant in his Jan. 28 Octagon debut against Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox 2. Known for his clubbing hooks and uppercuts, Johnson owns 15 of his 17 wins by way of knockout.
“I heard last night there was a chance I could get this fight and I accepted right away,” Johnson stated in an official release. “You don’t get chances like this too much in life, so when you are lucky, you make the most of it. I took one week off after my last fight and then went back to the gym.”
Struve enters the contest after finishing Barry and Dave Herman in back-to-back bouts. The tallest man in the UFC, Struve has competed for the Las Vegas-based promotion 10 times since his debut in 2009, compiling an Octagon record of 7-3. The Dutchman’s three UFC defeats have come against stiff competition, as “The Skyscraper” was knocked out by dos Santos, Roy Nelson and Travis Browne.