It didn’t take long for UFC matchmakers to find a new opponent for Gegard Mousasi.
On Monday, just days after reports surfaced that Derek Brunson had withdrawn from his scheduled meeting with Mousasi at UFC 200, the organization announced that Mousasi will instead meet Thiago “Marreta” Santos at the July event.
The middleweight matchup takes place July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is expected to headline the UFC Fight Pass preliminary portion of the card.
Santos, 32, will enter the bout on a four-fight Octagon winning streak which includes crushing knockouts of Steve Bosse and Nate Marquardt. The Rio de Janeiro native threw his hat in the ring to fight Mousasi almost immediately after news of Brunson’s withdrawal became public, making his availablity known to the UFC in a tweet on Sunday.
Thiago Marreta (@TMarretaMMA) June 19, 2016
Meanwhile, Brunson yesterday revealed the reason for his absence in a Facebook post: the Jackson-Wink MMA product recently developed a vision problem, leading to his withdrawal.
“I had lasik (PRK) 4 years ago,” wrote Brunson, referring to a popular laser eye surgery procedure. “Initially I thought I needed a touch up but after getting my eyes checked twice that wasn’t the case. I don’t recall getting hit in the eye during training. But my vision has been blurry and double vision for almost 2 weeks.”
Brunson stated his desire to fight Mousasi -- along with other opponents such as Robert Whittaker, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson -- when he returns to action.