It’s not often that the challenger loses in a championship bout and then turns right back around and gets a number one contender’s fight. But that’s just what happened to Shane Carwin.

As a matter of circumstance, he has ended up in Saturday’s UFC 131 main event against Junior dos Santos, the winner of which will get a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez sometime in the next four to five months.

dos Santos was actually expected to fight Velasquez, but when the champion was put on the shelf due to an injury the Brazilian didn’t want to wait. He instead accepted a slot coaching opposite Brock Lesnar on “The Ultimate Fighter” with a number one contender’s bout looming in Vancouver.

Then Lesnar went down. As fate would have it, Carwin was already slated to fight Octagon newcomer Jon Oliv Einemo on the undercard. With Lesnar out, Carwin agreed to step in and save the main event from extinction. And just like that, he’s back in the title hunt. The fight is still expected to determine the number one contender to Velasquez’s belt.

“I jumped at the chance to fight Junior. He’s one of the top heavyweights in the world; he’s one of the top fighters in the world,” said Carwin at Thursday’s UFC 131 pre-fight press conference at Robson Square in Vancouver.

“I’m excited to bring my skills and see what happens on Saturday. I believe in my power and knocking people out, and I know he does as well.”

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