Hard-hitting welterweight Dan Hardy has been forced out of his planned UFC on Fox 77 confrontation with Matt Brown, who will now instead face Canadian prospect Jordan Mein at the April 20 event.

UFC officials announced the news late Thursday night. UFC on Fox 7 takes place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., and will see Benson Henderson defend his UFC lightweight title against former Strikeforce ruler Gilbert Melendez in the evening’s main event. The show’s main draw airs live on Fox’s flagship network, while FX and Facebook will broadcast the preliminary card immediately prior.

Brown, 32, rebounded from three straight losses in 2010 to win five of his last six bouts. “The Immortal” currently rides a four-fight winning streak, earning victories over Chris Cope, Stephen Thompson and Luis Ramos to begin 2012 before knocking out Mike Swick to close out his 4-0 year at UFC on Fox 5.

Nine years younger than his upcoming foe, Mein already owns 35 pro outings to his credit. The surging prospect has won nine of his last 10 fights, posting a 2-1 record in the Strikeforce cage before making an noteworthy Octagon debut at UFC 158. “Young Gun” finished veteran Dan Miller at the March 16 event, escaping an early armbar attempt to stop the New Jersey native with strikes late in the first round.

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