Fight Night 137 was supposed to be headlined by former title challenger #8 ranked Glover Teixeira and #5 ranked Jimi Manuwa on September in Sao Paulo, Brazil. However a shoulder injury has forced Teixeira to pull out of the fight leaving the main event spot empty.
As many as three fighters volunteered to save the day namely rising prospect Khalil Rountree, surging contender Anthony Smith and middleweight Thiago Santos willing to move up.
If ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is to be believed, Santos was the front runner to get the fight as the UFC were seeking a Brazilian opponent for Manuwa. (via Twitter):
Khalil Rountree has offered to fill in on short notice versus Jimi Manuwa after Glover Teixeira withdrew today, I’m told. He’s even in Brazil right now. However, UFC would like to find a Brazilian replacement, sources say. As of a couple hrs ago Thiago Santos had not been asked.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 15, 2018
However, Santos with a tweet claimed that Manuwa had turned the fight down. (via Twitter):
“ I offered to fight Manuwa in Sao Paulo but he declined. I get it! He is coming off 2 losses doesnt need a 3rd!!!! @ufc @ufc_brasil @canalCombate
— Thiago Marreta (@TMarretaMMA) August 15, 2018
Santos recently had a quick turnaround at UFC 227 two weeks ago against Kevin Holland after a first round knockout against David Branch. Santos won the fight via unanimous decision.
UFC: Jimi Manuwa calls on Daniel Cormier to defend UFC light heavyweight belt or drop it