Three years ago Rafael Cavalcante was the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. Things have not gone well for Cavalcante since then. The former champion will get a chance to change his fortunes when he meets Igor Pokrajac at UFC Fight Night 32.
The UFC announced the bout on Thursday.
Cavalcante earned the Strikeforce title in August 2010, defeating Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal by third round technical knockout. Unfortunately for Cavalcante, his reign was brief.
Cavalcante surrendered the title in his first attempted defense, losing to Dan Henderson via third round TKO. Cavalcante bounced back from that loss in his next fight, stopping Yoel Romero via second round knockout.
The former champion's next fight ended with a quick submission victory. Cavalcante blasted Mike Kyle with strikes and then forced him to tap after applying a standing guillotine. The end came in just 33 seconds. That win would not stay on Cavalcante's record for long.
Shortly after the fight it was revealed that Cavalcante had tested positive for the steroid stanozolol. The positive test resulted in a one-year suspension, a fine of $2,500 and the victory over Kyle was changed to a no contest.
After returning from suspension, Cavalcante was matched up with Thiago Silva. The fight was Cavalcante's UFC debut, and it did not end well for him. Silva knocked out Cavalcante at the 4:29 mark of the first round.
Cavalcante's record stood at 10-2 after he defeated Lawal for the title. Today, his record is 11-4-0-1.
There's no doubt that Cavalcante will be under pressure heading into the November 9 fight, but so to will his opponent Pokrajac.
Pokrajac joined the UFC in 2009, debuting with a unanimous decision loss to Vladimir Matyushenko. Today, Pokrajac's UFC record stands at 4-5-0-1. In his last three fights, he has gone 0-2-0-1. The no contest was originally a decision loss, but that was changed to NC after his opponent, Joey Beltran tested positive for the steroid nandrolone.
Pokrajac's most recent bout was a June 2013 unanimous decision loss to Ryan Jimmo. Overall, Pokrajac's record stands at 25-10-0-1 as a professional mixed martial artist.
UFC Fight Night 32 will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort. The two fighters met once before, with Henderson taking the unanimous decision in that 2006 fight under the Pride FC banner.
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