by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
With Gabriel Gonzaga dropping out due to a staph infection, Junior Dos Santos is now expected to face UFC newcomer Gilbert Yvel at UFC 108. The news was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fight.
UFC 108 is slated for Jan. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is headlined by former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva.
Yvel, 33, was thought to be Octagon bound after Affliction Entertainment closed its doors in August, but sat in limbo until the Nevada State Athletic Commission issued him a provisional one-fight license in October.
Yvel’s controversial past has weighed on his current career. The Dutch striker turned MMA fighter drew outrage for several well-publicized incidents of misconduct including striking a referee and intentionally fouling his opponent.
The incidents prompted the Nevada State Athletic Commission to deny him a fight license in February 2007, nixing a fight with Sergei Kharitonov in Las Vegas at Pride 33.
After almost 50 overseas fights, Yvel made his U.S. debut in January after a special meeting with the California State Athletic Commission, where he assured regulators that his misdeeds would not be repeated.
Yvel said the NSAC’s October ruling gave his career new life.
“It’s a relief,” he said. “I’m happy that they gave me a chance and I got treated like all the fighters.”