UFC on Fox 4 now has a new headliner, as Mauricio Rua will face Brandon Vera at the Aug. 4 event.
Promotion officials announced the news on Wednesday. UFC on Fox 4 was originally slated to be headlined by a middleweight confrontation pitting Brian Stann against Hector Lombard, but Stann was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury. The event takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and marks the Las Vegas-based promotion’s third of four planned offerings on the Fox network in 2012.
The UFC also revealed Wednesday that Pablo Garza has pulled out of his planned featherweight tilt with Josh Grispi. Replacing “The Scarecrow” at the event will be submission ace Rani Yahya. Verbal agreements are in place for both reported contests, though promotion officials did not reveal whether Lombard would still compete on the card.
“Shogun” was previously expected to fight Thiago Silva at UFC 149 on July 21, but an injured Silva was forced to withdraw from the bout, leaving Rua temporarily without an opponent. Rua, 30, enters his new contest with Vera coming off a loss, as the former Pride Fighting Championships grand prix winner was bested by ex-Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson in a “Fight of the Year” nominee at UFC 139 this past November.
Meanwhile, Vera was slated to square off with the hard-hitting James Te Huna at UFC on Fuel TV 4. A replacement opponent for Te Huna is expected to be announced shortly, according to UFC officials. Vera, 34, posted a victory in his most recent outing, taking a contentious unanimous decision from Eliot Marshall on Oct. 29 at UFC 137.
Yahya has lost three of his last four, most recently falling to Chad Mendes in a unanimous decision at UFC 133 this past August. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has submitted 14 of his 16 career victims and is a seven-time World Extreme Cagefighting veteran, notching notable wins over Eddie Wineland, Yoshiro Maeda and Mark Hominick during his time with the promotion.
Another former WEC talent, Grispi posted 14 wins in his first 15 outings before stumbling in his UFC debut last year. Originally slated to challenge Jose Aldo for the featherweight title at UFC 125, Grispi was dominated by Dustin Poirier at the event after Aldo pulled out with an injury. Grispi fared no better in his June meeting with George Roop, who knocked out the 23-year-old with a body shot at “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 finale.