Niklas Backstrom is unbeaten in eight professional bouts. | David Lethadby/Sherdog.com
Undefeated Swede Niklas Backstrom is expected to replace an injured Thiago Tavares at UFC Fight Night Berlin.
Brazilian outlet Combate recently reported that Tavares suffered a thigh injury in training and was forced to withdraw from his main card matchup with Tom Niinimaki. Backstrom’s representation at Mano Management then announced via Facebook that the Swedish talent would fill in for Tavares, and Niinimaki also confirmed the booking via Twitter. MMAViking.com first reported the change Thursday morning.
UFC Fight Night Berlin takes place May 31 at the O2 World Berlin and is headlined by a middleweight showdown pitting Gegard Mousasi against Mark Munoz. The event streams live on UFC Fight Pass and will additionally see Francis Carmont collide with C.B. Dollaway in another 185-pound pairing.
Backstrom has been perfect since turning pro in 2009, with a 2011 no contest serving as the only non-victory on his record. The 24-year old last competed on March 22, knocking out Max Coga in just 15 seconds to collect the fifth stoppage win of his career.
Niinimaki holds more than three times the pro experience of his new opponent, and the Finn has not lost since November 2006. “Stoneface” extended his current winning streak to 12 fights in his Octagon debut last November, as Niinimaki edged Rani Yahya in a split decision at “The Ultimate Fighter 18” finale.