An injury has spoiled what was expected to be a highly entertaining striking matchup between Edson Barboza and John Makdessi at UFC 162 in Las Vegas.
According to MMAJunkie.com, with Makdessi out of that bout, Barboza will now meet fellow Brazilian Rafaello Oliveira, who has not competed since beating Yoislandy Izquierdo in July 2012. Oliveira had been scheduled for a bout with Michael Chiesa at UFC on Fox 5, but an injury has kept him out of action since then.
Coming off of back-to-back wins, Makdessi would have had an opportunity to move to 2-0 in 2013 had he not been injured, and doing so against Barboza would have put him in position to campaign for a fight with a highly ranked 155-pound opponent. Instead, he now finds himself on the shelf for an unspecified length of time.
Assuming he does meet Oliveira at UFC 162, this will be the third straight time Barboza has met an opponent whom he was not originally booked against. The Brazilian suffered his first UFC loss against replacement foe Jamie Varner after an Evan Dunham injury, and he recently picked up a win over Lucas Martins despite being initially slated to meet Justin Salas.
With a 1-2 UFC record, Oliveira is likely to be a significant underdog in this matchup with Barboza. Oliveira was stopped by a head kick from Yves Edwards, and Barboza is a much younger and arguably more dangerous striker than Edwards.
A victory over Oliveira wouldn't do much for Barboza in terms of rankings, but an impressive one would give him back-to-back wins and enough momentum for a big step up in competition.
Headlined by a middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, UFC 162 will be held on July 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Barboza and Oliveira are expected to meet on the FX prelims of that fight card.