Visa issues reportedly scrap Sonnen-Rua at UFC 161, Jimmo-Pokrajac head to main


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ryan-jimmo-4.jpgChael Sonnen tried to get himself into a fight, but it looks like his effort will go wasted.

Despite reports on Monday that Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC) would fill in for an injured Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 161 later this month against Mauricio Rua (21-7 MMA, 5-5 UFC), that fight won’t happen. Instead, UFC 161 will move forward with 11 fights, and “Shogun” will wait to fight another day – perhaps still against Sonnen.

The UFC made the announcement late Monday night that Rua had been removed from the card. But Globo, which first reported that Sonnen and Rua would meet, reported that visa issues created a problem for Sonnen to get into Canada – and that the two are expected to meet on Aug. 17 at UFC on FOX Sports 1 1 in Boston. The UFC has yet to announce the fight is in the works.

But as far as UFC 161 is concerned, with Rua’s slot falling off the main card, UFC officials confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that a preliminary card light heavyweight fight between Ryan Jimmo (17-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Igor Pokrajac (25-9 MMA, 4-4 UFC) will be promoted to the pay-per-view.

UFC 161 takes place June 15 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.

After Nogueira fell off the card on Sunday with a back injury, “Shogun” was in need of an opponent. Sonnen tried to ask for the fight on Twitter, and a Monday report from Globo surfaced that his tweet had done the trick.

But instead, Sonnen won’t be making a late-notice trip to Canada, and Rua will wait for another card. Whether that proves to be Sonnen later this summer, of course, remains to be seen.

UFC 161 was set to be headlined by a interim bantamweight title fight between Renan Barao and Eddie Wineland. But an injury to Barao forced him out of the headliner, which bumped the co-main event between Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans into the top position.

Now with Rua out of the co-main event spot, a heavyweight bout between Roy Nelson (19-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) and Stipe Miocic (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) climbs a spot on the card.

With the change to the card, UFC 161 is again finalized:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 8 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 7 p.m. ET)

For the latest on UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Ryan Jimmo)

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