Riki Fukuda’s second trip to the Octagon has been delayed. | File photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Japanese middleweight Riki Fukuda has suffered a serious leg injury and will be unable to compete against Rafael “Sapo” Natal at UFC 133 on Aug. 6.
Fukuda announced the news Monday through his personal Twitter account.
“I was in a car accident on [June 16],” Fukuda wrote. “The doctor said I fractured my left knee and shin bone. It looks like surgery is needed, so I can’t participate in August. Sorry to my fans, everyone who supported me, my opponent and the UFC officials. I’ll still go hard!”
The former Deep middleweight champion did not give a possible date for his return to action.
Hours after Fukuda’s announcement, Natal took to Twitter and revealed that he will now meet Constantinos Philippou on the Aug. 6 card, which emanates from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. A native of Cyprus who now trains with Matt Serra in New York, Philippou made his UFC debut on a week’s notice in March, falling by unanimous decision to Nick Catone. The defeat snapped an eight-fight unbeaten streak for Philippou, who came up through New Jersey feeder promotion Ring of Combat.
Fukuda, 30, made his Octagon debut at February’s UFC 127, where he dropped a controversial unanimous decision to Canadian Nick Ring. Prior to the defeat, the Grabaka representative had won seven in a row and nine of his last 10, including a victory over Murilo “Ninja” Rua and a trio of brutal battles with Ryuta Sakurai. In 22 professional outings, Fukuda has been stopped only once.
This item was updated at 1:32 p.m. ET with information regarding Rafael Natal’s new opponent. Go Yamamoto contributed to this report.