One power puncher will replace another at UFC
146, as promotion officials announced Thursday that Mark Hunt has
suffered an injury and will be unable to compete against Stefan
Struve. Fighting in Hunt’s stead will be Lavar
Johnson, who looks to maintain his perfect Octagon record.
UFC 146 takes place May 26 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
and will be headlined by a heavyweight title collision between
Santos and Frank Mir.
Hunt’s withdrawal from the event completes the main card’s total
transformation: Not one current matchup was originally scheduled
for the all-heavyweight pay-per-view. The massive shakeup was
triggered last month when Alistair
Overeem withdrew from his scheduled main event with dos Santos
and Mir was instead granted the title shot.
Johnson steps in on just nine days’ notice to face the lanky
Dutchman. The 34-year-old last competed May 5, when he handed
Barry a devastating knockout defeat at UFC on Fox 3. The
victory marked Johnson’s second UFC victory; he was also triumphant
in his Jan. 28 Octagon debut against Joey
Beltran at UFC on Fox 2. Known for his clubbing hooks and
uppercuts, Johnson owns 15 of his 17 wins by way of knockout.
“I heard last night there was a chance I could get this fight and I
accepted right away,” Johnson stated in an official release. “You
don’t get chances like this too much in life, so when you are
lucky, you make the most of it. I took one week off after my last
fight and then went back to the gym.”
Struve enters the contest after finishing Barry and Dave Herman
in back-to-back bouts. The tallest man in the UFC, Struve has
competed for the Las Vegas-based promotion 10 times since his debut
in 2009, compiling an Octagon record of 7-3. The Dutchman’s three
UFC defeats have come against stiff competition, as “The
Skyscraper” was knocked out by dos Santos, Roy Nelson