Dana White and the UFC might have an easier time in getting folks to buy into UFC 191, currently headlined by a rematch between Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson for the 125-pound title.
Slotted as the co-main event, former title contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will now face Jimi Manuwa in the co-main event. Johnson was previously slated to take on the lesser-known No. 12-ranked light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz at the Sept. 5 event in Las Vegas.
According to the UFC, Manuwa only recently received clearance to accept a fight with Johnson after doctors OK’d his ailing knee.
No. 1-ranked Johnson last entered the Octagon in a bid for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier in May. “Rumble” suffered a third-round submission defeat to the former Olympian, ending the Johnson’s nine-fight winning streak.
This is the second consecutive time Johnson’s opponent has changed after the original announcement. He was supposed to challenge reigning pound-for-pound king Jon Jones for his light heavyweight crown at UFC 187 before Jones ran into some legal issues and was suspended by the promotion.
Manuwa rebounded from a March 2014 TKO loss to Alexander Gustafsson by defeating Blachowicz in a unanimous decision in April of this year. It was the first loss of his professional career.
Blachowicz is expected to remain on the card, though his opponent has not been announced.