UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao
has officially withdrawn from the main event of UFC
161 due to injury.
UFC officials announced the news Tuesday, revealing that light
Henderson and Rashad
Evans will now fill the headlining slot. Barao was supposed to
defend his belt against former World Extreme Cagefighting ruler
Wineland before succumbing to his foot injury. It is currently
unknown if Wineland will remain on card against a new opponent.
UFC 161 takes place June 15 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg and marks the
Las Vegas-based promotion’s first trip to the Canadian province of
Manitoba. The evening’s main card airs live on pay-per-view and
will also feature a light heavyweight rematch between Mauricio
“Shogun” Rua and Antonio
Barao, 26, owns one of the most impressive winning streaks in all
of mixed martial arts. The Brazilian has posted 30 victories in his
last 31 outings, with only a 2007 no-contest marring his record in
that span. The Nova Uniao ace joined the WEC in 2010 and
transitioned to the UFC the following year, winning three bouts
before outpointing Urijah Faber
to capture the interim bantamweight title last July. Most recently,
Barao defended his belt successfully against prospect Michael
McDonald, finishing “Mayday” with a fourth-round arm-triangle
choke on Feb. 16 at UFC on Fuel TV 7.
A former 205-pound titlist, Evans, 33, has lost back-to-back fights
for the first time in his career, falling to reigning champion
Jones last year before dropping a unanimous decision to
Nogueira in a lackluster Feb. 2 showdown at UFC 156.
Henderson will compete for the first time since relinquishing a
split verdict to Lyoto
Machida on Feb. 23. Prior to that UFC 157 conflict, “Hendo” was
expected to challenge Jones for the light heavyweight belt this
past September before pulling out of the UFC 151 booking with a