by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday announced that Georges St-Pierre will step in to take Matt Serra’s place on Dec. 29. Serra had been scheduled to defend his welterweight championship against Matt Hughes, but suffered a herniated disc in his lower back and will be unable to fight.
This will be the third time that St-Pierre and Hughes have faced each other. Hughes won the first match-up by armbar, while St-Pierre won by TKO in their second meeting.
St-Pierre versus Hughes 3, at UFC 79 in Las Vegas, has been declared a fight for the interim UFC welterweight championship.
“Obviously, the loss of Matt Serra was brutal, but the great thing about the UFC is that we can put together great fights like Hughes-St-Pierre at a moment’s notice and bounce right back,” said UFC President Dana White.
“I have the utmost respect for both Hughes and St-Pierre for stepping up for this fight, and not only are the fans going to see two of the greatest welterweights of all-time settle their score in a rubber match, but they’re going to do it in a five-round interim title fight, and the winner is going to face off next year against Matt Serra for the undisputed title.”
“I’m so excited to get this fight,” said St-Pierre. “I’m fighting Matt Hughes for the interim title right now, and then after that I’m going to go after Serra. I’ve wanted that rematch against Serra, and this is the best scenario that can happen.”
Via his website, Hughes said that he asked for this fight to be for an interim title. He didn’t indicate why he accepted the bout against St-Pierre other than to say, “I’ve got a couple reasons why I’ve made this decision and I will share those at a later time.”
Serra stated that the fight between St-Pierre and Hughes puts him in an awkward position. “I can’t believe the position this puts me in,” he said. “I’m actually rooting for Matt Hughes so I can beat his ass.”
Bouts officially announced for UFC 79:
-Matt Hughes vs. Georges St-Pierre
-Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva
-Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Lyoto Machida
Rumored bouts not yet confirmed by the UFC:
-Dean Lister vs. Jordan Radev
-Manny Gamburyan vs. Nate Mohr
-Rich Clementi vs. Melvin Guillard
-Roan Carneiro vs. Tony DeSouza
-Doug Evans vs. Mark Bocek
-Eddie Sanchez vs. Soa Palalei