Ryan Bader has agreed to step in and fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the UFC Sao Paulo main event slated for Nov. 19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Nogueira had originally been slated to face Alexander Gustafsson, who is out due to an undisclosed injury. MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed that Bader would replace Gustafsson, following an initial report by MMAFighting.com.
UPDATE: Gustafsson’s representatives at Mano Management later confirmed that a recurring back injury forced him out of the fights, saying on Facebook, “Alex was supposed to fight Lil Nog in Brazil, but has once against encountered problems with his back, the same problem he has been having for many years… for the next coming weeks, Alex needs to rest, but we are sure he will come back strong than ever from this.”
Nogueira, Bader, and Gustafsson are all trying to get back into the thick of the UFC light heavyweight title talk after having been recently derailed. With Gustafsson out of the picture, however, it will be up to Nogueira and Bader to settle which of them will take the next step toward the championship.
Nogueira (22-7) has been fairly inactive over the past couple of years, but bounced from back-to-back losses to Anthony Johnson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua earlier this year with a win over Patrick Cummins. Having managed to maintain a No. 9 ranking in the division, he’ll try to catapult himself higher by avenging a previous loss to Bader.
Ranked No. 7, Bader (21-5) is well positioned to return to the championship mix with a win over Nogueira. Johnson ended a five-fight winning streak for him in January, but Bader got back in the win column with a victory over Ilir Latifi in September.