After he found out that his broken ankle wouldn’t be fully healed in time for him to fight, Assuncao recently had to pull out of the Faber fight. With few compelling options to keep Faber on the card, UFC officials on Wednesday revealed that Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare would take top billing.
Maia vs. LaFlare was already the co-main event on the fight card, which is set to take place at Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Maia (19-6) is coming off of a victory over Alexander Yakovlev last May. He spent the rest of the year on the sidelines after a staph infection knocked him out of a planned bout in August.
LaFlare (11-0) is a rising talent in the welterweight division. Like Maia, however, he spent the better part of last year out of the Octagon. After defeating John Howard in April and injury derailed his return to the cage.
Currently riding a seven-fight winning streak, Assuncao suffered the broken ankle in December. The timing of the injury kept him from stepping into a shot against UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw when then-challenger Dominick Cruz dropped out of the title bout due to injury.
Assuncao was hoping to secure a shot at the winner of the upcoming rematch between Dillashaw and former champion Renan Barao with a victory over Faber.