World Series of Fighting announced today that Thiago Meller has withdrawn from his scheduled welterweight contest against John “Doomsday” Howard (23-12), who will now face “Mad” Mike Arrant (15-10) in a middleweight bout at the much-anticipated WSOF31: Ivanov vs. Copeland world championship doubleheader Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event, live on NBCSN from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. on Friday, June 17.
In addition, undefeated Marcus Surin (3-0) of Stamford, Conn. has been tabbed to step in for Sam Watford in the scheduled lightweight preliminary card contest against Christian “The Terminator” Torres (0-0) of Endicott, N.Y.
Originally hailing from Orlando, Fla., the 5-foot-9, 28-year-old Arrant, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt, resides in Las Vegas, where he is a member of legendary champion Randy “The Natural” Couture’s Xtreme Couture fight squad.
Arrant is looking to return to the win column following a unanimous decision defeat in his last start on August 7, 2015, at the hands of two-time UFC veteran Brock Jardine.
Prior to the loss, Arrant had reeled off six consecutive victories, five of which he produced in the first round, by way of (T)KO or submission. To date, 12 of his 15 professional wins have been finishes.
During the six-fight win streak, Arrant seized his first championship – regional promotion SteelFist Fight Night’s welterweight title – with a first round (5:00) TKO (retirement) of Carl Dieckmann on July 12, 2013.
Like Arrant, the 5-foot-7, 33-year-old Howard boasts a phenomenal finish rate with 15 of his 23 professional victories having come by way of (T)KO or submission.
Howard will make his promotional debut with World Series of Fighting following a second stint with the UFC that spanned seven fights and included wins over Uriah Hall, Siyar Bahadurzada and Cathal Pendred.
The entire preliminary fight card will stream live on an embeddable video player on WSOF.com.
In the main event of the five-bout, live NBCSN telecast, reigning World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov (13-1) will put his title on the line against Josh “Cuddly Bear” Copeland (12-3).
In the lightweight co-main event, superstars Jason “The Kansas City Bandit” High (19-5) and Mike “The Martian” Ricci (11-4) will square off with their division’s number one contender ranking at stake.
WSOF31: IVANOV VS. COPELAND FIGHT CARD:
MAIN CARD (Live on NBCSN)
World Series of Fighting Heavyweight Championship Main Event:
Blagoy Ivanov (Champion) vs. Josh Copeland (Challenger)
Lightweight Co-Main Event:
Jason High vs. Mike Ricci
Middleweight: John Howard vs. Mike Arrant
Featherweight: Luis Palomino vs. Sheymon Moraes
Middleweight: Phil Hawes vs. Josh Key
PRELIMINARY CARD (Live on WSOF.com)
Lightweight: Tom Marcellino vs. Devin Powell
Heavyweight: Juliano Coutinho vs. Justin Willis
Heavyweight: Tyler King vs. Lorenzo Hood
Welterweight: Robert Fonseca vs. Sean Lally
Lightweight: Bruce Boyington vs. Saul Almeida
Bantamweight: Rodrigo Almeida vs. Ben Pierre-Saint
Lightweight: Marcus Surin vs. Christian Torres