Junior Dos Santos’ return to the Octagon will have to wait a little while longer after pulling out of his fight with Stipe Miocic at the TUF: Brazil 3 Finale. Brazilian site Combate were the first to report the news, pinpointing the reason for pulling out to be an injury suffered to Dos Santos’ left thumb during a training session. The UFC are currently looking for a replacement for Miocic, who will still participate in the main event for the May 31 card.
Dos Santos had been looking to return for the first time since his third fight with Cain Velasquez, a fight in which he was dominated for all five rounds before being finished late on in the final round.Miocic, meanwhile, will come into the main event off the back of decision wins over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga, both ranked heavyweights with knockout power. With the momentum of the Croat, he would have proved to be a tough test for the Brazilian, though the bout ultimately hasn’t come to fruition.
Early reports suggest that Brendan Schaub or Andrei Arlovski, who are targeted to fight one another at UFC 174, could be potential replacements for Dos Santos, though this is no more than speculation. Other potential options include Josh Barnett, Travis Browne or Matt Mitrione, though the recent injuries of the former and medical suspension of Browne could leave the UFC with a small amount of options available.
The UFC are expected to announce a replacement for Dos Santos within a matter of days, with the fighter in question replacing the Brazilian on over three weeks notice for the May 31 card at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil.