Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
A lightweight match-up scheduled for the UFC on Fox 3 card in New Jersey on May 5th has undergone a bit of a change as Dennis Hallman is pulling out of his scheduled bout with Anthony Ferguson, due to an injury suffered in training. According to Tatame, Brazil's own Thiago Tavares will step in for Hallman and face Ferguson:
I wasn’t planning to fight in May because I wanted to fight in June, on UFC’s show in Sao Paulo, but I accepted because that’s what I do. I never said ‘no’ to a fight. UFC called me asking if I wanted to replace Dennis Hallman and I accepted it. That’s now what I wanted, I was expecting to fight someone else in Brazil, someone with a bigger name, but I never said ‘no’ to a fight.
After a KO at the hands of Shane Roller last March left Tavares with his first loss since 2008, he righted the ship and has now won two in a row, competing on both of the UFC's recent Brazil cards, TKOing Spencer Fisher last August, and winning a close decision over Sam Stout in January. Tavares brings the same dangerous ground skills that Hallman would have, but he also is a larger fighter and has a better standup game than "Superman", which might serve him well if he can't get Ferguson down.
Ferguson won the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter at welterweight, and has remained undefeated since, including his drop down to 155 lbs after capturing the season crown. His most recent fight was perhaps his most competitive, a unanimous decision win over Yves Edwards that many thought would be a split decision, if not a win for Edwards, but El Cucuy nonetheless proved he could hang with a seasoned veteran.
Thiago Tavares (17-4)
W Sam Stout (unam. decision) - UFC 142
W Spencer Fisher (TKO) - UFC 134
L Shane Roller (KO) - UFC on Versus 3
Anthony "El Cucuy" Ferguson (12-3)
W Yves Edwards (unam. decision) - TUF 14 Finale
W Aaron Riley (TKO) - UFC 135
W Ramsey Nijem (KO) - TUF 13 Finale