Raphael Assuncao’s bantamweight title chase has been put on hold. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Brazilian bantamweight Raphael Assuncao will be unable to compete against Urijah Faber next month, according to a Monday report from Combate.
Assuncao suffered a broken ankle during training in late December, and the injury will apparently not be healed in time for his scheduled March 21 rematch with “The California Kid.” The bout was set to headline a UFC Fight Night card at Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro.
Sources close to the organization told Combate that the UFC is seeking a replacement opponent for Faber, but the possibility of a new main event for the card has not been ruled out.
Faber and Assuncao first met in 2010 under the World Extreme Cagefighting banner. Faber rebounded from his WEC title loss by submitting Assuncao with a third-round rear-naked choke.
Since then, 32-year-old Assuncao has risen to become one of the UFC’s top contenders at 135 pounds, racking up seven consecutive victories, including a split decision over current champion and Faber teammate T.J. Dillashaw. Faber, 35, went 2-1 in his 2014 campaign, suffering a second loss to Renan Barao before submitting Alex Caceres and, more controversially, Francisco Rivera.