Joe Silva has been earning his paycheck this week, with the UFC's matchmaker forced into scramble mode to deal with a plethora of injuries to fighters scheduled for upcoming cards, all seemingly occurring simultaneously. The latest casualty is featherweight, Pablo Garza, who was scheduled to take on Josh Grispi at UFC on Fox 4 on August 4th. No news has been released on Garza's injury, but the UFC updated the event website for the card yesterday with the new bout, which will feature BJJ ace, Rani Yahya, filling in against Grispi.
Once one of the sport's most promising featherweight prospects with consecutive stoppage wins against Mark Hominick, Micah Miller, Jens Pulver, and L.C. Davis in the WEC, Grispi has seen both his fighting career and his personal life upended in the last year. First, Grispi got dominated in his first two UFC fights by Dustin Poirier and George Roop, and then he was forced into an extended layoff by injuries and medical concerns that family members were dealing with. Now healthy and properly motivated again, the Massachusetts native will look to build on his pre-UFC success.
Yahya, a highly-regarded BJJ practitioner and former Abu Dhabi tournament champion, is a veteran fighter, with experience all over the world against some of MMA's top featherweights, but the weaknesses in his striking and wrestling have led to difficulty putting together a solid winning streak that would truly solidify his spot as a top-ranked fighter. The Brazilian was given a shot in the UFC's burgeoning featherweight division, despite losing his last two fights in the WEC, and he impressed many by upsetting former WEC champ, Mike Brown, via unanimous decision back in January of 2011. Yahya then went on to face eventual title contender, Chad Mendes, and although he was never in danger of being finished, he was unable to deal with the wrestling and smothering top game of the American, which shut down his potent submission game.
Josh "The Fluke" Grispi (14-3)
L George Roop (KO) - TUF 13 Finale
L Dustin Poirier (unam. decision) - UFC 125
W L.C. Davis (technical submission) - WEC 49
Rani Yahya (16-7)
L Chad Mendes (unam. decision) - UFC 133
W Mike Brown (unam. decision) - UFC Fight for the Troops 2
L Takeya Mizugaki (unam. decision) - WEC 48