Less than 24 hours after Luke Rockhold fell out of the UFC 230 co-main event, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza agreed to step in.
Rockhold had been slated to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 at Madison Square Garden, but had to withdraw from their co-main event because of an undisclosed injury. Rockhold told ESPN that he would be sidelined for about four weeks and hoped to return sometime by the end of 2018 or early 2019.
With Rockhold out of the fight, UFC officials quickly shuffled the deck and pulled Jacare from his planned UFC 230 bout with David Branch.
Though Weidman had been looking forward to the rematch with Rockhold – he lost to Rockhold three years ago – he’ll gladly accept the fight with Jacare.
“I am focused on this fight. I’ll be at MSG on Nov 3. Doesn’t matter who they put in front of me. I’m getting my belt back. My management and UFC will figure the rest out,” Weidman tweeted shortly after Rockhold’s withdrawal.
He later added, “I was really looking forward to fighting Luke in this rematch, but unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards this time around. This is a tough sport. I’m hoping and praying Luke makes a quick recovery and returns to good health.”
Though Rockhold is currently sits at No. 2 in the UFC’s official middleweight rankings, Jacare is a solid option. Weidman holds the No. 3 spot, while Jacare is ranked No. 5.
UFC 230 is headlined by Daniel Cormier, who will put his heavyweight title on the line opposite Derrick Lewis, who is making a quick return after defeating Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 earlier this month.