With season eight lightweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter Efrain Escudero forced to withdraw from his upcoming match at UFC Fight Night 18 due to injury, UFC officials have finalized a deal with Gleison Tibau to step in as a replacement on April 1 against Jeremy Stephens.
MMAWeekly.com was the first outlet to break the news of the change and FiveOuncesOfPain.com has since confirmed the report with a source close to one of the fighters.
Tibau, 16-6, trains out of Florida’s American Top Team and last competed at UFC Fight Night 17 in February. Facing veteran Rich Clementi, Tibau was victorious after securing a guillotine choke submission at 4:35 of round 1. The win improved Tibau’s lifetime record in the UFC to 5-3.
Stephens also last competed at UFN 17, fighting in the night’s main event against Joe Lauzon. The 22-year old Iowa native fell to 14-4 after submitting to an armbar by Lauzon at 4:43 of round 1.
UFC Fight Night 18 will take place at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The two-hour Spike TV broadcast will be headlined by former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit making his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann and will serve as a prelude to the season premiere for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Additional reported matchups for the UFN 18 include TUF 8 light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader vs. Carmelo Marrero, Junie Browning vs. Cole Miller, Tyson Griffin vs. Rafael dos Anjos, Matt Horwich vs. Ricardo Almeida, former WEC welterweight title challenger Brock Larson vs. newcomer Jesse Sanders, Aaron Simpson vs. Tim McKenzie, Steve Steinbeiss vs. Ryan Jensen, and Rob Kimmons vs. Joe Vedepo.