Rarely would an injury in Mixed Martial Arts ever be considered a “good” thing but in the case of an upcoming bout featuring sensational bantamweight Renan Barao it appears one fighter’s affliction will result in a positive for fans. Originally scheduled to face sacrificial lamb Jeff Hougland at UFC 148, Barao will now take on streaking veteran Ivan Menjivar at the event after Hougland was pegged as a replacement for Mike Easton at UFC on Fuel 3.
Easton was forced to withdraw due to undisclosed damage he sustained while training for the event where he was set to take on crafty Canadian Yves Jabouin. The UFC confirmed the change shortly after Barao first mentioned it on Twitter.
Clearly a more comparable opponent to Barao than Hougland was, Menjivar has never looked better in his career than he has since returning to the UFC after an extended absence from the Octagon, living up to his nickname as of late with a trio of consecutive wins including two opening round stoppages. The “Pride of El Salvador” holds an overall record of 24-8 with past success against the likes of Hideo Tokoro, Jeff Curran, and Joe Lauzon.
Barao is one of MMA’s hottest fighters with 28 straight wins since losing in his professional debut seven years ago. He is 5-0 under the Zuffa banner with wins over Cole Escovedo, Brad Pickett, and most recently Scott Jorgensen since transitioning into the UFC after picking up a pair of victories in WEC.
UFC 148 will go down July 7 in Las Vegas while featuring a number of intriguing bouts such as Michael Bisping-Tim Boetsch, Demian Maia-Dong Hyun Kim, Rich Franklin-Cung Le, Tito Ortiz-Forrest Griffin, and of course the headlining title-fight between 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz and rival Urijah Faber.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC