Onetime UFC heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee will return to the Octagon at UFC 155, stepping in for Matt Mitrione to face British grappler Philip De Fries.
The Las Vegas Sun first reported the news, and UFC officials confirmed the booking shortly thereafter. Mitrione was pulled from his bout with De Fries earlier this week to fill in for an injured Shane Carwin against Roy Nelson on Dec. 15 at “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 finale.
UFC 155 takes place Dec. 29 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will see Junior dos Santos defend his heavyweight title against former champion Cain Velasquez in the evening’s main event.
Duffee, 26, joined the UFC in 2009 and made a splash in his debut, leveling Tim Hague in just seven seconds at UFC 102. The hulking prospect then made his sophomore effort in May 2010, falling victim to an experienced Mike Russow, who weathered two rounds of sustained offense from Duffee before knocking the young gun stiff midway through the third frame at UFC 114.
Released from the promotion shortly after the loss, Duffee was then blitzed by Alistair Overeem on New Year’s Eve to close out 2010. After spending 15 months on the sideline, Duffee returned to the cage this past April under India’s Super Fight League banner, earning a technical knockout over ex-Bellator talent Neil Grove at SFL 2.
De Fries, meanwhile, has competed three times in the Octagon since joining the Las Vegas-based organization just over one year ago. The 26-year-old earned a unanimous decision over countryman Rob Broughton in his UFC foray last winter but was then leveled by a series of Stipe Miocic right hands this past February at UFC on Fuel TV 1. Most recently, De Fries earned his second promotional victory by topping former strongman Oli Thompson, submitting his fellow Brit in the second round of their UFC on Fox 4 clash on Aug. 4.