UFC 181: Hendricks Replaces Weidman Due to Hand Injury
- Updated: September 23, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman (12-0) is out with an injury so UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks (16-2) is in for UFC 181 on December 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Weidman suffered a hand injury while training for at title defense against No. 3 ranked middleweight contender Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort (24-10) at the UFC event.
Instead Ultimate Fighting Championship fans will be treated to a welterweight title defense rematch which will be rematch from UFC 171 in March. After former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges “Rush” St-Pierre (25-2) vacated the crown after defeating Hendricks by a split decision at UFC 167 in November of 2013, the top two contenders for the crown were set for the UFC 171 fight. Hendricks defeated “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (24-10, 1 NC) by a unanimous decision in an absolute war between the fighters. Hendricks won the striking battle 158-150 and had two takedowns to none in the fight.
Hendricks won the title in the fight and will be making his first defense of the title in a rematch with Lawler now on the UFC 181 card to replace the middleweight title fight that was going to occur. However, the event will have a pair of title bouts as the co-headline fights for the night.
In the other title bout scheduled for the event, UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (17-2) will make his first title defense against No. 1 ranked lightweight contender Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-3) who moved into the top ranked spot after Benson “Smooth” Henderson (21-4) lost to Rafael Dos Anjos (22-7) at a UFC Fight Night in late August. Henderson dropped to No. 4 in the rankings while Dos Anjos moved into the No. 3 spot.
Pettis was recently the winner of a contest to be on the first mixed martial arts athlete to appear on a Wheaties box as fans logged their workouts to earn him the victory.