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Whittaker vs Brunson now headlines UFC Fight Night 101

Robert Whittaker, left, hits Rafael Natal during a middleweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 197, Saturday, April 23, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)

UFC Fight Night 101 now has its new main event, though it’s not one we didn’t expect to see.

A middleweight clash between Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson, originally penned for the co-main event, moves into the headlining slot after an injury to Luke Rockhold forced the former champion out of his rematch against Ronaldo Souza. The scheduling change was first announced by The Daily Telegraph, and later confirmed by the UFC.

Two of the division’s fastest-rising contenders, both Whittaker and Brunson enter the cage riding five-fight winning streaks.

Whittaker last fought at UFC 197 in April, defeating Rafael Natal via unanimous decision. Prior to that, he picked up what can be considered the biggest win of his professional career, out-striking Uriah Hall to take home a unanimous decision in front of an favorable crowd at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. The former Ultimate Fighter winner first made into the UFC as a welterweight contender before moving up to 185 pounds in November 2014. He’s one of few fighters in the sport that’s seen success after moving up weight.

Brunson, meanwhile, has managed to stop all for of his previous opponents via knockout or TKO in the opening round. A list that includes Hall, Roan Carneiro, Sam Alvey and Ed Herman, the power puncher has not gone past the third minute of the first round in over two years.

UFC Fight Night 101 takes place Saturday, Nov. 27 from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

There is no word on what bout will now serve as the co-main event.

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