An unspecified injury has forced onetime UFC middleweight champ
Bustamante (Pictured) to withdraw from his main-event bout
against Yuya Shirai
at Wednesday’s Fight
Club event in Rio de Janeiro.
“I suffered an injury last week which I’ve been trying to deal with
since, unfortunately without success,” Bustamante, 44, announced
Monday via Twitter. “It’s a very sad moment for me, because it
would be a dream come true to fight in Brazil again after 14 years
of fighting abroad.”
According to a report from Tatame.com, welterweight Delson “Pe de
Chumbo” Heleno has agreed to take Bustamante’s place against
Shirai in what will now be a 180-pound catchweight contest.
Originally slated to take part in the show’s undercard, Heleno was
also left without a fight after original opponent Luis “Besouro”
Dutra withdrew and replacement Gil de
Freitas was also stricken by injury.
A former member of the Renzo
Gracie-coached New York Pitbulls squad in the
International Fight League, Heleno enters the bout on an
eight-fight win streak. The 33-year-old Rio native holds a record
of 21-5, including victories over Jake
Acacio and Waachiim
Shirai, 31, is the reigning welterweight titleholder of Japan’s
organization. A training partner of UFC and Pride vet Ryo Chonan,
Shirai had a successful five-fight run snapped in February, when he
was knocked cold by Strikeforce contender Paul Daley in
London. Shirai’s only other loss since 2008 came against Jason High in
the opening round of Dream’s 2009 welterweight grand prix.
Wednesday’s Fight Club card, which takes place at Rio’s Via Show
nightclub, will also feature top Brazilian light heavyweight
Teixeira against Marcio “Pe de
Pano” Cruz, as well as a one-night, four-man welterweight