MMA vet and recent Bellator MMA “Fight Master” reality-show winner Joe Riggs is reportedly heading back to the UFC.
Riggs (40-14 MMA, 4-4 UFC) has replaced injured Mike Rhodes (6-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) and will meet welterweight Paulo Thiago (15-7 MMA, 5-7 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 51.
The change was first reported by Combate.com. MMAjunkie could not immediately reach UFC officials for confirmation, and the organization hasn’t made a formal announcement.
UFC Fight Night 51, which features a headlining rematch between heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Antonio Silva, takes place Sept. 13 at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. The entire event streams on UFC Fight Pass.
Riggs, who’s racked up 55 pro fights in 13 years despite being just 31 years old, returns to the UFC for the first time since 2006. He carries with him a six-fight winning streak, which included a recent Bellator 106 win over Mike Bronzoulis to win the first season of “Fight Master.” A veteran of organizations such as the UFC, Bellator, WEC and Strikeforce, he owns 36 stoppages (20 knockouts and 16 submissions) in 40 career wins.
“Diesel” meets a fighter in desperate need of a victory. Thiago, a 33-year-old Brazilian who fights in his home country for the fourth consecutive time, has lost two straight and four of his past five, all in the UFC. Overall, he’s just 2-6 since some early UFC success against the likes of Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick.
The latest UFC Fight Night 51 card now includes:
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Antonio Silva
- Lukasz Sajewski vs. Leonardo Santos
- Sergio Moraes vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
- Joe Riggs vs. Paulo Thiago
- Igor Araujo vs. George Sullivan
- Jessica Andrade vs. Valerie Letourneau
- Efrain Escudero vs. Francisco Trinaldo
For more on UFC Fight Night 51, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Joe Riggs)