UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao has officially withdrawn from the main event of UFC 161 due to injury.
UFC officials announced the news Tuesday, revealing that light heavyweights Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans will now fill the headlining slot. Barao was supposed to defend his belt against former World Extreme Cagefighting ruler Eddie Wineland before succumbing to his foot injury. It is currently unknown if Wineland will remain on card against a new opponent.
UFC 161 takes place June 15 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg and marks the Las Vegas-based promotion’s first trip to the Canadian province of Manitoba. The evening’s main card airs live on pay-per-view and will also feature a light heavyweight rematch between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Barao, 26, owns one of the most impressive winning streaks in all of mixed martial arts. The Brazilian has posted 30 victories in his last 31 outings, with only a 2007 no-contest marring his record in that span. The Nova Uniao ace joined the WEC in 2010 and transitioned to the UFC the following year, winning three bouts before outpointing Urijah Faber to capture the interim bantamweight title last July. Most recently, Barao defended his belt successfully against prospect Michael McDonald, finishing “Mayday” with a fourth-round arm-triangle choke on Feb. 16 at UFC on Fuel TV 7.
A former 205-pound titlist, Evans, 33, has lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career, falling to reigning champion Jon Jones last year before dropping a unanimous decision to Nogueira in a lackluster Feb. 2 showdown at UFC 156.
Henderson will compete for the first time since relinquishing a split verdict to Lyoto Machida on Feb. 23. Prior to that UFC 157 conflict, “Hendo” was expected to challenge Jones for the light heavyweight belt this past September before pulling out of the UFC 151 booking with a knee injury.