UFC 201 has gone from the opportunity of his career for Wilson Reis to one of the riskiest fights of his career.
Ranked No. 7 in the UFC 125-pound division, Reis (20-6) had been slated to challenge Johnson in the UFC 201 co-main event. Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler headlines the card, putting his belt on the line against Tyron Woodley.
Johnson, however, had to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury. Another UFC newbie, Sean Santella, was originally tapped to replace Johnson, but UFC officials on Monday revealed that he was unable to gain the proper medical clearance in time for the fight.
As such, Sandoval (12-2) has been signed for the short-notice bout. A member of Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male, Sandoval is on a four-fight winning streak, but is stepping into the toughest fight of his light under the brightest of spotlights.
The fight represents a tremendous opportunity for Sandoval, who can immediately make a name for himself by defeating one of the UFC’s top flyweight contenders. It is also a tremendous risk for Reis, who could see his title shot crumble away if he loses to a UFC upstart.