File Photo: Sherdog.com
The peculiarity surrounding Paulo Filho only continues.
Over the weekend, event promoter Amaury Bitetti announced that Filho had pulled out of his Feb. 25 Bitetti Combat 6 headlining bout against Yuki Sasaki due to "personal issues" and that he would be replaced by former UFC title challenger Thales Leites.
Now, two days later, Bitetti has told Brazilian MMA outlet Tatame that the embattled middleweight will in fact face Sasaki on the card.
"Sasaki said that he would only fight if it was with Paulo," Bitetti said. "Knowing this, Paulo said that he would fight anyway."
The 31-year-old Filho has become known as much for his erratic behavior as his potent grappling. Filho has spoken publicly about his past substance abuse and ongoing depression. His outside-the-cage issues came to a head inside of it in his infamous and bizarre November 2008 bout with Chael Sonnen, in which a despondent Filho waded around the cage in a strange fashion throughout three rounds.
Fortunately, this bizarre situation does have a silver lining: Despite not facing Sasaki, Leites will remain on the card. The Nova Uniao standout will square off against a yet-to-be-named middleweight when Bitetti Combat hits the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in the nation's capital of Brasilia on Thursday.
It was also announced over the weekend that Dutch veteran Valentijn Overeem sustained an undisclosed injury in training, forcing him out of his bout with Brazilian hitter Fabio Maldonado. Maldonado, a sparring partner for Anderson Silva and the Nogueira brothers, will now take on Guto Inocente, one of Brazil's more renowned heavyweight kickboxers.
This article was updated Feb. 22 at 6:10 p.m. ET to note that Filho is back in against Sasaki.