It hasn’t taken very long for the UFC to find Chris Weidman a new opponent for UFC 230.
On the same day that it was confirmed that Luke Rockhold was out of his co-main event rematch with Chris Weidman, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto has been told by Dana White that former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza will fill in for the injured Rockhold. MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz first reported the story of Jacare being the frontrunner to replace Rockhold.
Souza (25-6, 1 NC) is coming off a Fight of the Night with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224, but he wound up losing a split decision. The prolific grappler did fight one other time in 2018, winning by knockout against Derek Brunson in January. He is currently ranked #5 in the UFC middleweight division.
Jacare was scheduled to face David Branch on this very card, so that obviously leaves Branch needing a new opponent as well. According to Okamoto, one possibility is Jared Cannonier, a former heavyweight who has competed at light heavyweight over his past several bouts, including a TKO loss to Dominick Reyes in May. It is unknown whether or not this fight would be booked at 185 or 205, although Branch held the light heavyweight title while with World Series of Fighting.
UFC 230 takes place at Madison Square Garden on November 3rd and features a heavyweight championship main event between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis.