Hard-hitting lightweight Jeremy Stephens will replace an injured John Cholish against Yves Edwards at UFC on Fox 5.

Promotion officials announced the news Friday. Cholish sustained a groin injury will prevent him from competing against Edwards at the Dec. 8 event, which takes place at Seattle’s KeyArena. The evening’s main draw airs live on Fox’s flagship network and is topped by a lightweight title tilt between reigning champion Benson Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz.

Stephens and Edwards were initially booked against each other last month at UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis. However, that pairing was scrapped just hours before the event when Stephens was arrested on an out of state warrant.

Known for his power punching, Stephens, 26, rides two consecutive victories heading into his short-notice appearance. “Lil’ Heathen” kicked off last year with victories over Marcus Davis and Daniel Downes but closed out 2011 with a split-decision defeat to former WEC champion Anthony Pettis. Most recently, Stephens was outpointed by another WEC vet in Donald Cerrone on May 15 at UFC on Fuel TV 3.

Edwards, 36, has lost two of his last three after posting back-to-back victories in his return to the Octagon. The “Thugjitsu Master” will make his first appearance of 2012 against Stephens, competing for the first time since he was outpointed by “Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 winner Tony Ferguson last December at the “TUF 14” finale.

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