Chris Leben vs Derek Brunson Official For UFC 155
MMA Junkie reports that Derek Brunson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has stepped up on short notice to face Chris Leben (22-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC) at UFC 155. This is after Karlos Vemola (9-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was injured.
Brunson-Leben will likely be the first fight of the main card, which takes place on PPV December 29 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main event features heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos defending against Cain Velasquez.
Brunson is making his UFC debut from Strikeforce after back-to-back losses. In August, he was knocked out by former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in 41 seconds. In June, he lost by split decision to Kendall Grove in ShoFight, which is based in Missouri. Before that, he began his career at 9-0 with seven wins via stoppage in the first round. He was 3-1 in Strikeforce. His Strikeforce future is in doubt as the January 12 card is expected to be the last.
Leben is making his return after a one year suspension for testing positive for prescription painkillers after his UFC 139 main event loss to Mark Munoz in England. This was his second suspension for a failed drug test. Before that, he had a quick knockout win over Wanderlei Silva in 27 seconds at UFC 132. He’s had a mixed record of wins and losses after a three fight win streak with stoppages again Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama in 2010, two weeks apart.
Other changes include a possible addition of lightweights Melvin Guillard and Jamie Varner. This was scheduled to take place at The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale, but Varner was sick that day and not allowed to compete. Dana White said the fight will be moved to this show but it hasn’t been confirmed. UFC is still seeking an opponent for Leonard Garcia after Cody McKenzie suffered an injury on Tuesday.
Here’s the current card for UFC 155.
MAIN (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez – for heavyweight title
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Tim Boetsch vs. Constantinos Philippou
Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami
Derek Brunson vs. Chris Leben
PRELIMINARY (FX, Facebook)
Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner (not officially announced)
Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland
Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth
Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury
Leonard Garcia vs. TBA (not officially announced)
Philip De Fries vs. Todd Duffee
Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga