Ricardo Lamas (pictured) is the new opponent for Dustin Poirier. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Two new bouts have been added to UFC 143 promotion officials announced Wednesday.
As had already been reported, returning heavyweight jiu-jitsu ace Fabricio Werdum will face off with well-rounded contender Roy Nelson at the Feb. 4 event, which emanates from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Additionally, featherweight prospect Dustin Poirier will lock horns with hard-punching wrestler Ricardo Lamas.
Poirier was initially supposed to square off with Eric Koch, but news broke Tuesday that the Roufusport product was forced to withdraw from the contest due to injury.
Headlined by an interim welterweight title affair between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, UFC 143 airs live on pay-per-view. The main draw will also feature another important 170-pound affair when Mike Pierce faces off against Josh Koscheck.
Nelson recently rebounded from back-to-back defeats, knocking out Mirko Filipovic at UFC 137. Prior to that win, “Big Country” had dropped decisions to former champion Frank Mir and now-current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Werdum returns to the UFC after a three-year absence. Since exiting the Octagon on the heels of a brutal knockout courtesy of dos Santos, “Vai Cavalo” has won three of his last four, notching wins over Mike Kyle, Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko before falling to Alistair Overeem in the June quarterfinals of Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix.
Known as “The Diamond,” Poirier is one of the featherweight division’s fastest-rising prospects. Just 22 years old, Poirier already owns 11 victories to his credit, nine of which have come by either knockout or submission. The once-beaten Louisianan has won four-straight fights heading into his showdown with Lamas, notching wins over Josh Grispi, Jason Young and Pablo Garza in 2011.
Seven years the elder of his opponent, Lamas has won five of his last six bouts. Like Poirier, Lamas is also a WEC import, posting a 4-2 record in the smaller blue cage before transitioning to the UFC this year. Lamas had his hand raised in both of his Octagon appearances, finishing Matt Grice in June and Cub Swanson in November.